The adventure of the Beyond EPICA project takes over the legacy of a preview project, called EPICA, and departs from it. The European Project for Ice coring in Antarctica, EPICA, lasted for 10 years: started in 1996 and finished in 2004, the EPICA project interested ten European countries and different scientific institutions to reach 3.2 km of depth through the Antarctic ice cap and a record of 800 thousand years of climatic information trapped in the ice. It was an unprecedented result that set a fundamental milestone in palaeoclimatology.
As the name says, Beyond EPICA wants to go beyond this project, called EPICA, and allowing the team to study the atmospheric composition and the isotope information, going back to the climatic conditions of the Earth up to 1.5 million years ago.
⇒ Interview: Eric Wolff, who talks about what have brought from EPICA to Beyond EPICA.
This winter, a group of 12 scientists and drillers from Italy, France, Switzerland and Deutschland left the European continent to join an adventure. After weeks, they reached their destination: Antarctica.
The real and final step of this journey was Little Dome C: a temporary, scientific camp in the middle of the ice cap that covers the oriental part of Antarctica. Little Dome C will be the set for our project, Beyond EPICA, which aims to extract the oldest ice core: with this project we want to travel back in time till 1.5 million years ago. For several months during the Antarctic summer, scientists and technicians will reach Little Dome C to continue the drilling operations. Year after year, till 2026, when the project will reach its main objective.
⇒ Interview from Antarctica to Carlo Barbante, Principal Investigator of the Beyond EPICA project.
When it comes to Antarctica, nothing is simple!
Logistic is also an important aspect: the scientific materials have already left for Antarctica, although our team will only arrive in November.
These Beyond EPICA boxes will arrive in Rome, at the headquarters of our precious logistics partner, ENEA, and then be loaded onto the ship that will soon reach Antarctica.
Bon voyage dear equipment, see you in a few months in Little Dome C!