How pure is the oldest ice water?

Submitted by Phyllis Hello Scientists: I am wondering about the purity of the oldest water that makes up the oldest glaciers. That is, if a very old (pre-Homo-sapiens) sample of ice is taken from a glacier in Antarctica, what is found in there? It’s not salty, I would guess, but is it extremely pure? Does … Read more

What temperatures are ice cores stored at?

Question: how cold do we need to keep ice cores to save the data? Submitted by Kettaashano Hi Kettaashano, Thank you for a very interesting question! The world’s major ice core storage facilities, such as the National Science Foundation Ice Core Facility, store ice cores in large freezers at a temperature of around -36°C. Often, … Read more

Does the Antarctic Ice Sheet transport glacial erratics?

Dear Malcolm, Thank you for your question on glacial erratics. Below is a summary of the main debris transport pathways in glacial systems. Debris can be supplied to a glacier system from supraglacial or subglacial sources. Supraglacial sources include rock or snow avalanches from valley sides or mountain peaks that rise above an ice sheet/cap … Read more

How much of the Antarctic Ice Sheet is below sea level?

Hi Luke, thanks for your question! An answer to your question can be found in the recent BEDMAP2 (an ice bed, surface, and thickness dataset for the Antarctic Ice Sheet) paper. In terms of area: 5.50 x 10^6 km^2 (or 5,500,000 km^2) of ice is grounded below sea level. The total area of the ice … Read more

What is the source of Larsen C Ice Shelf?

Looking at maps of Larsen C, the area of the shelf is many time larger than the area of the glaciers that I assume would accumulate snow and feed it.  This made me wonder about the source of the Larsen Ice Shelf. Is most of Larsen C’s ice mass originally from the glaciers or was … Read more

Is the breakaway of the Larsen C Iceberg normal?

Question: my question: Fact: A massive iceberg weighing more than one trillion tons has broken away from western Antarctica Speculation: Global Warming My Question: In 1911 – the Titanic sank due to icebergs in the shipping lanes – was this Global Warming? Probably not? Speculation: It seems icebergs break away are normal   Asked by … Read more

How do we know how old the Antarctic Ice Sheet is?

The oldest penetrated Antarctic ice is about 800,000 years old. However, I have read that the Antarctic Ice Sheet has been present for several millions of years. Is there any direct evidence for older ice, or is it simply an inference from dC18 values from somewhere, or something like that? Do global sea-level curves support … Read more

What do I need to study to become a glaciologist?

Asked by Johnny Hi Johnny, Thanks for your question! Glaciology encompasses a number of disciplines, from maths, physics and chemistry, geology and geography. A science background is necessary but there is a huge range of specialities within glaciology, ranging from numerical modelling (needs maths and physics and computer science) to geomorphological mapping (needs Geography or … Read more

Do glaciers recede during summer and advance during winter?

Is there a significant cyclic variation in the position of the glacier terminus along the year? -Asked by Felix Hi Felix. This is a great question. In some areas with glaciers with especially fast response times, this may indeed be the case. Some glaciers in places like Scandinavia and Iceland have small annual moraines, which … Read more

Have you ever brought non-native animals to Antarctica?

Non-native animals are not allowed in Antarctica. We must be very careful not to accidentally introduce small insects or plant seeds when we visit – our boots and clothes must be thoroughly cleaned if they have ever been used elsewhere. More information about accidental introduction of ‘aliens’ is covered in the Antarctic Treaty.

This site uses cookies. Find out more about this site’s cookies.