McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Nov. 28, 2007 -- A second season in Antarctica for the Antarctic Geological Drilling (ANDRILL) Program has exceeded all expectations, according to the co-chief scientists of the program's Southern McMurdo Sound Project.
One week ago (Nov. 21), the drilling team passed the 1,000-meter mark in rock core pulled from beneath the sea floor in McMurdo Sound, and with a remarkable recovery rate of more than 98 percent. The end of drilling is scheduled for this weekend, and only a few tens of meters of core remain to be recovered for an expected final total of more than 1,100 meters (3,600 feet). It's the second-deepest rock core drilled in Antarctica, surpassed only by the 1,285 meters (more than 4,215 feet) recovered by last year's ANDRILL effort, the McMurdo Ice Shelf Project.
As the job nears completion for the Southern McMurdo Sound Project drillers, the co-chief scientists, David Harwood of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Fabio Florindo of Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Rome, said they couldn't be more pleased with the results. They said the efforts of the program's nearly 80 scientists, drillers, engineers, technicians, students and educators in Antarctica, with the operations and logistics support provided by Antarctica New Zealand, have given the world's scientists more than a kilometer of pristine rock core that records the history of climate and glacial fluctuations in Antarctica over the past 20 million years.
"It's everything we hoped for," Harwood said. "Combine the drill hole we recovered last year with this one, from a time period right below it, and it's more than 2 kilometers (1 1/4 miles) of geological history. It's phenomenal what we've recovered. There's a lot of diversity in the core, indeed more than we can digest right now. It will take some time to fully resolve the paleoenvironmental and dynamic paleoclimate information in the core."
The goal of this drilling proj
|Contact: Tom Simons|
University of Nebraska-Lincoln