21 Dec 2012

Bedrock breakthrough in Antarctica

9:47 pm on 21 December 2012

A New Zealand-led team of scientists has made a huge scientific breakthrough in Antarctica, by successfully drilling through more than 700 metres of ice sheet to bedrock, and back in time to the end of the last ice age.

Dr Nancy Bertler of Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre and GNS Science, who headed the team, says the 763 metre ice core will provide a detailed record of the climate history of the Ross Sea for the last 30,000 years.

Speaking via satellite phone from Roosevelt Island, 1000km from Scott Base, she said the ice core will show how the Ross Sea region could respond to global warming.

Dr Bertler said an international team of scientists will begin analysing more than 100,000 core samples next year.