Arrival of the ice core

The Laura Bassi ice breaker brought back the upper part of the Beyond Epica precious ice core to Ravenna, Italy! Shipping will also allow us to test the cold chain at -50°C, which will preserve all the features of the ice during transportation. Now the cold-container are waiting to start to Bern, where the ice core will be stored.


From the logbook of the LDC camp - 4

Day 40 - Drilling continued easily with eight runs of over 3 m each time. Towards the end of the day, we did a little experimentation with two different drill heads: neither of these two drill heads performed well today, but it is always worth a little experimentation in the pursuit of performance. Gunther took advantage of the calm conditions, between his drill shifts, to ski out to one of the GPS survey poles to recover the instrument

Day 41 - Easy drilling continues; we break through the 700 m depth mark.

Day 42 - Drilling was a little less routine today, with a torn hollow shaft filter sleeve slowing us down late morning. Romilly walks out 1000 m in the ‘clean air sector’, after her drilling shift finishes, to her surface science site where she is monitoring the development of the snow surface during the season.

Day 43 - Drilling continues with shorter runs; we invite the whole neighbourhood over for pizza. There were 29 of us in total – thirteen from Beyond EPICA, six from the French traverse, and ten from the Australian traverse that had arrived a few days earlier.

Day 45 - Drilling continued slowly while we experimented with different drill head combinations and suffered some problems with the drill motor power. By the end of the day, we had made 11.5 m in seven runs of the drill. Frustrating!

Day 47 - A day of records! Today has long been billed as the last day of drilling. With the temperatures starting to fall, the need to think about closing down the camp and winterising all the drilling and camp infrastructure is becoming more urgent. Drilling continued in the morning in a routine manner: the fourth core of the morning took us past the 800 m mark on the loggers’ depth. It was time for a final round of experimentation with the drill. The shorter 3.5 m barrel system was replaced with the 4.5 m barrel system. This time was different, with two runs of the drill producing first 3.88 m of core, and in the final drilling run of this season, a core of 4.52 m in length!

After a career of nearly 40 years, and well over 30 polar field seasons, Robert claims to have drilled the final ice core of his career today.

Read more .....


From the logbook of the LDC camp - 3

Day 31 - Drilling comes good: an excellent day’s drilling with a total of more than 34 m.

Day 33 - The last drill run of the day brought up ice core bag number 500, meaning 500 m depth on the loggers’ depth scale.

Day 34 - We changed late last night to the 4 m long drill barrels again for another test. However, the first two runs with these longer barrels showed that the drill motor is not yet well tuned. There is still hope that this can be solved, but we chose to switch back to the relatively successful 3 m barrel system (which allows us to recover cores up to 3.5 m long).

Day 37 - Sunday morning! We started the drilling a little later, but made six good long runs by the end of the day breaking through the 600 m mark.

Day 38 - A change of the drill motor controller: the new system made only 8 m of core in the next six runs. Late in the evening, we switched back again to the previous drill controller, and once again made one excellent run of 3.3 m. Saverio and Michele left for Concordia Station, taking a trailer loaded with 36 boxes of cores for storage in the deep storage cave.

Day 39With the change back to the older drill motor controller late last night, the drilling today ran smoothly: a daily total of nearly 29 m of ice.

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From the logbook of the LDC camp - 2

Day 15 - We had a bad day today, and drilling stopped because of problem with the motor. We are working hard to fix it.

Day 17 - Quite good progress today in setting up different drill configurations. The broken drill motor has been replaced and tested.

Day 19 - New day, new cutters on the drill head. The good news is that drilling is now progressing well and we are now working well in shifts with quite good production.

Day 22 - Christmas Eve: a time for celebration in the camp. Drilling began soon after 08.00 today as usual. Loading up 20 boxes of ice cores on a trailer to be moved to Concordia Station. Drilling ended for the day at 18.00, and it was time to change into Christmas jumpers, or smart clothes and a Santa hat, in time for the big Christmas Eve meal!

Day 23 - Christmas Day: a slow morning after the night before… after a lunch the drilling began again!

Day 24 - Time to change to the new AWI long barrels, which once tuned and running well have the potential to drill 4 m long ice cores, which would be the longest cores yet drilled by European teams.

Day 26 - The day the hatch broke, and disappointing drilling. At the end of a very frustrating day (and well past midnight) the long 4 m barrels were replaced by the 3 m barrels that had proved effective in the few days before Christmas in the hope that we could return to a configuration that might prove more successful.

Day 29 - Time for Arnold… Arnold is actually a hardened steel cone cutter. Mounted in place of the normal drill head, the cutter makes a downward pointing cone shaped cup in the ice at the bottom of the borehole. Any debris in the hole then falls into this cup. The result: the next attempt at a core brought up a decent 2.21 m core and then another long core at 2.75 m – perhaps we had begun to solve our penetration problems!
Happy New Year to you all!

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From the logbook of the LDC camp - 1

Day 1 - The Little Dome C Camp has been officially opened today, December 3rd, 2022.

Day 2 - Work is progressing well and the team is very close-knit and while the logistical work for the opening of the field proceeds, in parallel the drillers, scientists and all the staff are busy with the reopening of the drilling tent and assembly the necessary instrumentation.

Day 6 - Good progress in Concordia labs today. Markus and Florian installed the Swiss saw in the cold lab and made the first tests on the motor and electronic.

Day 8 - The 2m drill has been assembled and the winch tested and greased. We double checked all the setting and are hopefully ready for the first runs.

Day 9 - First few runs have been made in the LDC Camp.

Day 11 - We still have some problems in the anti-torque system.

Day 13 - Great progress with the new drill setting today. All the work done is giving good results in terms of drilling yield and ice core quality.

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Field campaign 22/23 begins now!

When it comes to Antarctica, nothing is simple!
Logistics is an important aspect: all the materials must arrive on time and safely at LDC.

Six categories of shipping materials rules are prepared to reach this goal depending on when and from where the material starts.

The first step of the transportation is to get closer to Antarctica, and there are two main cities that are a safe basis for our logistic partners, ENEA and IPEV: Hobart, in Tasmania, and Christchurch, in New Zealand.

All materials from Rome and from other countries in Europe go directly to Christchurch by cargo ship or air cargo, it depends on the material and time. Here, the materials are put in an airship or cargo ship. The next stop will be Mario Zucchelli Station, the Italian base in Antarctica.

Some material is also boarded into the Italian research vessel, the Laura Bassi, which departs from Ravenna (Italy) and after a brief stop in Christchurch, restarts its journey to Mario Zucchelli Station.

 There is also the possibility to send materials from Europe directly to Hobart, by aircargo or cargo ship. From Hobart, the materials will be transported to Dumont D’Urville, the French station, with an air cargo or via L'Astrolabe, the french vessel.

The final destination for the material will be the same: Little Dome C, just a few kilometers from the Italian-French station Concordia. An airplane or a more challenging traverse will take everything safely to LDC, in time for the arrival of the drilling team.

The total amount of kilometers covered is about 17.000 and the time spent to organize and carry out this journey will be enormous.


The quest for oldest ice in Antarctica

Have you ever wondered how we imagine to reach the “oldest ice” in Antarctica?

And why do we need to retrieve the oldest ice core?

Barbara Stenni, full professor at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice will present the quest for the oldest ice in Antarctica. Starting from the EPICA project and now through the Beyond EPICA Project, find out what efforts the scientific community is making to retrieve the ice core to study the climate of the past 1.5 Myr.

The webinar is organized by Beyond EPICA - Oldest Ice Core for the EU Polar Cluster

Link to the Zoom Meeting:

 ID MEETING: 840 5425 9908 



Ice cores: a natural archive to reconstruct and understand past climate change - a DEEPICE project infographic

Sometimes, topics like paleoclimatology and ice coring can be challenging to understand: so many concepts, so many links. How do scientists study the ice cores? Why do they need to know about the past climate to understand the future?  

To answer these and more questions, the DEEPICE Project created an infographic which tells the main goals of the science of ice cores: it will no longer have secrets!

Visit the DEEPICE website and the page dedicated to Communication activities of DEEPICE. 

Ice Cores: A natural archive to reconstruct and understand past climate changes by Cirenia Arias Baldrich is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


Science news by AGU: Exploring the Dramatic Shift in Ice Age Duration

EOS Science news by AGU - Editors’ Vox - Perspectives on Earth and space science: A blog from AGU’s journal editors