Oldest Ice In The World : Beyond EPICA Mission Scientist To Drill Oldest Ice Core In Antarctica Uncover Millions Year Old Discovery

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Six teams of scientists have set up camp in Antarctica and will soon begin their exploration by drilling into a 1.8-mile-thick (3 km) layer of ice. So far, scientists have studied Earth’s prehistoric climate from 800,000-year-old ice. But scientists are preparing to go back nearly twice this time by collecting ice cubes from about 1.5 million years ago under the Beyond Epica mission.

“During our last EPICA project, which ended in 2008, we were able to extract and examine an 800,000-year-old ice core,” said Venice’s Project Coordinator, Carlo Barbante. He said that now we are trying to go further back in time. Because if we are to see what the world is currently experiencing in the form of climate change, we have to look back more. That’s what we’re trying to do with Beyond Epica in Antarctica.

What was the prehistoric Antarctic climate like?
The mission aims to investigate the prehistoric Antarctic climate and greenhouse gases during the MPT (Middle Pleistocene Transition), which occurred between 900,000 and 1.2 million years ago. The cost of this mission is more than 8.5 million pounds i.e. about Rs 84 crores. Funding for this mission is being provided by the European Commission.

The site’s summer temperature is -35 °C
Beyond EPICA will be excavated at the same site where the cores were previously collected. The site, called Little Dome C, is located about 25 miles (40 km) from the French-Italian Concordia research station. Situated at an elevation of more than 10,000 feet above sea level, Little Dome Sea sees temperatures dip as low as -35C in summer and -80C in winter. The drill site was scheduled between 2019 and 2020 and was selected after more than 2,400 miles (4,000 km) of aerial and ground surveys.


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