Quest to discover the oldest ice in Antarctica

COLDEX and ED Brook associates also hope to locate much older ice, perhaps up to three million years old and even older




A National Science Foundation funded effort that will be lead by Oregon State University to discover the oldest ice in Antarctica and to learn more about earth's climate that has changed over the last several million years.


The COLDEX or the Center for Oldest Ice Exploration that will be created the under five-year, USD 25 million Science and Technology Center award announced on September 9.


The center will guide the experts together from across the United States to bring out the knowledge about the climate system of the earth and will share it to advance the efforts to address the earth's climatic changes and its impacts.


The paleoclimatologist in OSU's College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and the principal investigator for COLDEX, Ed Brook said, "This is fundamental exploration science."


ED Brook said, "What we're after is to see how the earth behaves when it is warmer than it has been in the last one million years."


He added, " In order to do that, we have to find and collect ice cores that go back that far."


ED Brook said that the oldest continuous record of Antarctic ice was collected by drilling miles down from the surface, at present goes back about 800 thousand years.


He said that researchers believes to find a continuous record that goes back 1.5 million years.


He noted that the characteristics of the climate system were different in the period between 800,000 years ago and 1.5 million years ago.


COLDEX and ED Brook associates also hope to locate much older ice, perhaps up to three million years old and even older.


Ice that old is unlikely to be found in a continuous record, but the opening research shows that patches of older ice are trapped in the mountain ranges around Antarctica.


Center for Oldest Ice Exploration which is one of the six new science and technology centers that was founded by the National Science Foundation, which at present supports the 12 centers, with the last centers that was funded in 2016.


This quest is a cooperative affair. The University that collaborates on the project includes Amherst College, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Princeton University, University of California (Berkeley), University of Maine, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, University of Kansas, University of Texas, University of Washington, University of Minnesota (Duluth) and the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities).

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