Third Pod from the Sun

Third Pod from the Sun

Antarctica's Oldest Ice

January 06, 2020

Drilling engineer and ice core scientist Robert Mulvaney has driven thousands of kilometers over Antarctica in the past few years in a snow tractor, creeping slowly over one of the highest points of the ice sheet, near a location known as Dome C. He’s looking for the perfect place to drill one and a half million years into the past. Gas trapped in the ice as it formed holds clues to Earth’s past climate and, Mulvaney believes, the atmospheric conditions that influenced the onset and denouement of the major glaciations of our current ice age.

To drill that far into the past, Mulvaney, the science leader of the Ice Dynamics and Palaeoclimate team at the British Antarctic Survey, and his colleagues with the EU-funded Beyond EPICA—Oldest Ice Core project need to find the perfect ice patch that is both thick enough to span 1.5 million years, yet has not melted at the bottom into a lake under the ice. In this episode of Third Pod from the Sun, he talks about camping at the bottom of the world, the beauty of the ice and how Antarctica is still the continent of exploration.

This episode was produced by Liza Lester and mixed by Kayla Surrey.