Email Print Share

Ice core from Lake Vostok

A piece Lake Vostok ice core


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

General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (1.7 MB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.