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February 8, 2008

Ice core from Lake Vostok

Eric Cravens, assistant curator at the National Ice Core Lab in Littleton, Colorado, holds a piece of ice core taken from above Lake Vostok, a remote region of Antarctica.

More about this image
Ice cores are recovered and studied for a variety of scientific investigations most of which focus on the reconstruction of past climate states of the Earth. Ice cores give researchers a glance into the past hundreds of thousands of years of geologic history.

The National Ice Core Lab (NICL) in Littleton, Colorado, is a facility for storing, curating and studying ice cores drilled from the polar regions of the world. The facility currently houses over 14,000 meters of ice cores from 34 drill sites in Greenland, Antarctica and high mountain glaciers in the Western United States.

The lab gives scientists the capability to conduct examinations on and take measurements of ice cores, and to preserve the integrity of these ice cores in a long-term repository for current and future investigations.

By studying past climate fluctuations, scientists hope to be able to understand the mechanisms by which climate change is accomplished and in so doing, they hope to develop predictive capabilities for future climate change.

NICL is a joint facility funded and operated by the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Science Foundation. Scientific management is provided by the University of New Hampshire. To learn more about the facility, visit the NICL website. (Date of Image: Oct. 2, 2002)

Credit: Photo by Melanie Conner, National Science Foundation

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