Image courtesy of Robin Frisch-Gleason.

From: Robin Frisch-Gleason
McMurdo Station, Antarctica, November 1, 2007

What is ANDRILL?

ANDRILL (Antarctic Geologic Drilling) is a drilling program currently on-ice in Antarctica. ANDRILL is in its second year of drilling into the rocks of the sea floor, which lie beneath the ice and the ocean, to uncover information about the past and changing Antarctic climate. The rocks below the sea floor capture information about the climate present on the earth at the time when the rocks formed. By drilling into these rocks and bringing them back up to the surface to study, we can travel backwards in time millions of years to learn not only about the past climates, but also about how quickly climate has changed, and speculate about the causes and effects of these climate changes. By studying the clues contained in these rock cores, including fossils, sedimentary structures, rock type, geochemistry, and magnetism, scientists can interpret what the rocks are telling us about the ancient environments present in Antarctica. Understanding Antarctica's climate history and the responses of Antarctic ice to past global climate change will increase our understanding of present climate change and the responses being measured in the Polar Regions today.

The picture on this "postcard" shows short segments of two rock cores recovered by ANDRILL. Scientists can "read" the cores, studying the layers and types of materials in each core, to learn about the past.

Postcards from the Field: ANDRILL

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