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Annual layers of snow accumulation in a snow pit

Scientist points to annual layers of snow accumulation in a snow pit located near the South Pole

Scientist Howard Conway of the University of Washington points to annual layers of snow accumulation in a snow pit located near the South Pole. The strata lines are similar to tree rings in that each year's snowfall can be clearly viewed. Ice cores extracted from deep within the ice contain atmospheric gases from hundreds of thousands of years ago. These gases provide an accurate record of what the Earth's atmosphere was like in the past. (Date image taken: December 2015; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: March 3, 2017)

Credit: Elaine Hood, NSF

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