Ice core research

Ice core research

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Credit: PASQUALE SORRENTINO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Ice core research. Researcher carrying out a test on samples from an Antarctic ice core. This is atomic absorption spectroscopy, which uses the absorption of light by atoms in a gas to measure their concentration. The technique can measure concentrations of parts per billion, revealing the composition of the air trapped in the ice. Ice cores are obtained by drilling deep into an ice cap formed by hundreds of thousands of years of snowfall. Analysis of the ice core can reveal changes in climate during this time. This ice core is from Dome C on the East Antarctic plateau. It has been obtained as part of the European EPICA project (2001-5) that has obtained ice cores to a depth of 3 kilometres and an age of 900,000 years.

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