Scientists are finding clues about the Ancient Earth’s climate in a very unlikely location – Denver. That’s where they’re studying ice extracted from Antarctica. The ice in the form of columns is placed in a huge freezer, then it gets an electric charge for it to be ready to be studied.
Outside the freezer, there is a computer room, where the computer observes the ice and makes measurements.
One of the pieces bears volcano particles in it, 8,000 years old.
The ice-lab Is called the National Ice Core Laboratory in Lakewood. This is the place where ice extracted from deep within Antarctica and Greenland get shattered, photographed and experimented upon. Some of it is taken to other labs, where experts perform even more experiments.
Some of these experiments aim to find out what kind of temperatures the Earth had several thousands of years back. These white 5-inch diameter ice columns, which are called ice cores, give scientists a host of historical data, from air temperatures to the greenhouse effect or even cosmic events.
The record can reach up to 800,000 years. The ice collected sets in layer upon layer, as the centuries pass.
After drilling into it, and extracting it, the situation is similar to understanding a tree’s history by looking at tree rings. That ice sheet contains hundreds of thousands of years of climate data that’s perfectly preserved.
Experts employ special drilling machines that dig to a depth of up to 9,800 feet under the surface of the ice. Then the ice gets packed In protective tubes and shipped back to the US. Trucks bring it to the Colorado Lab. It is funded by the National Science Foundation.
The samples of ice are kept at around – eleven degrees Fahrenheit. Workers push the icy columns through saws to give them a pre-arranged pattern for various types of experiments.
Every ice column is archived in a larger room which reaches -33 degrees. In that room, there are over 56,000 feet of ice.
The ice information is analyzed in many ways. For example, the different weight of molecules in the ice can hold clues about the air temperature during the time the snow fell.
The air which gets trapped inside can be looked at to determine how much carbon dioxide and other gases were in the atmosphere at the time the ice formed.
Image Source – Wikipedia