The EPICA Project at Dome C (The European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica)
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
On Tuesday 21 December 2004, a European team involved in EPICA reached the drilling depth of 3270.2 m, which is Sm above the bedrock at Dome C, on the central plateau of the east Antarctic ice sheet The ice is melting at the bedrock and it has been decided to stop at this depth to avoid any danger of direct contamination of the basal water. The drilling operation has therefore been terminated. The drilling has been very successful and has been followed by a wide community of ice and climate researchers. The 70 meters of ice drilled this season completes a long venture started in 1996. The core has already led to the release in the scientific journal « Nature » last June of a 740,000-year record of Antarctic climate. The new piece of core will extend the record to an age estimated to be more than 900.000 years old. This is the oldest ice that has been recovered from deep ice cores. The basal ice has ice crystals, some bigger than 40 cm and we have observed many inclusions of brown/reddish material mainly between the big ice crystals. The prospect of the new and unknown info1~mation to be I " 1-" I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I found by studies of the ice from the EPICA DomeC ice core is fascinating and may have a profound impact on our understanding of the Earth's climate and environment. As a freelance science journalist and photographer I have documented the EPICA project at Dome C in the 2000-200 I, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 summer campaigns, thanks to the help of the Italian Polar Programme. This is a report on the EPICA project in words and pictures. A VHS PAL cassette with some video footage of the drilling operations is included.