Australia to lead antarctic ice study

Dec. 17, 2012 at 8:13 PM

CANBERRA, Australia, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Australia says it will lead a major undertaking to drill a 130-foot deep ice core in Antarctica that could provide valuable information on climate change.

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Tony Burke made the announcement Saturday after returning from a three-day trip to Antarctica, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

In an effort dubbed the Aurora Basin North project, scientists will drill the ice core 375 miles inland from Australia's Casey research station in east Antarctica, Burke said.

The iced core should yield a detailed 2,000-year history of antarctic climate, he said.

"Ice cores provide the written history of our atmosphere and our water," he said.

The Aurora Basin project is expected to lay the groundwork for drilling of a 1 million-year-old ice core in coming years by an international collaboration involving about 20 scientists from Australia, Denmark, the United States and France, Xinhua reported.

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