Two Tonnes Of 2000-Year-Old Ice Has Arrived In Australia

Drilling in the Antarctic. Image: Australian Antarctic Division

Ice which formed 2000 years ago in the heart of the Antarctic has arrived in Australia.

About two tonnes of ice core sections drilled at Aurora Basin, 500km inland from Australia’s Casey station, is being distributed to Australian and international laboratories.

The core will be analysed for atmospheric gases, particles and other chemical elements that were trapped in snow as it fell and compacted to form ice.

Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist and Leader of the Aurora Basin project, Dr Mark Curran, says the core will help fill a gap in the science community’s knowledge of climate records.

“Using a variety of scientific tests on each core, we’ll be able to obtain information about the temperature under which the ice formed, storm events, solar and volcanic activity, sea ice extent, and the concentration of different atmospheric gases over time,” Dr Mark Curran said.

The team used a Danish Hans Tausen drill to extract the main 303 metre-long ice core which will provide annual climate records for the past 2000 years.

“There are only a handful of records with comparable resolution that extend to 2000 years from the whole of Antarctica, and this is only the second one from this sector of East Antarctica.”

The project paves the way for a more ambitious drilling expedition to collect a one million-year-old ice core.

“Such an ice core would help us understand what caused a dramatic shift in the frequency of ice ages about 800,000 years ago, and further understand the role of carbon dioxide in climate change,” Dr Curran said.

The Aurora Basin project involves 15 partner organisations contributing from six nations: Australia, China, Denmark, France Germany and the United States of America.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.