Arctic & Antarctica
Scientists will have to drill at a depth of nearly 3km to retrieve some of the oldest ice that can tell us about the past and future of climate. Credit: NASA/Michael Studinger

Deep Antarctic drilling will reveal climate secrets trapped in 1.5 million-year-old ice

An ambitious mission to drill into the Antarctic ice sheet to extract some of the oldest ice on the planet will provide vital clues about a mysterious shift in the behaviour of our planet's climate.

Drilling into the ice of Antarctica is like going back in time. Frozen within it are relics from long past eras—dust that settled on the surface long ago and bubbles of air trapped by ancient blizzards.

For scientists hoping to understand how the Earth's climate has changed in the past, it is a treasure trove. Packed into every metre of ice are thousands of years-worth of these precious artefacts.

Now an international team of researchers are hoping to drill more than 2,700 metres below the surface in their search for ice that is up to 1.5 million years old.

Their aim is to extract ice cores that will help them to piece together what happened to our planet's climate during a crucial and mysterious period of change that occurred around 1 million years ago.

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