Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Greenland ice core project yields probable ancient plant remains

16.08.2004


The sediment sampler was hammered into the ground under the ice in order to recover sediment samples. It is here filled with a mixture of mud and ice.


People are pulling and pushing to guide the 3 ton winch up through the narrow passage to the surface from 8 meters depth. In the other end, the camp bulldozer is pulling hard.


A team of international researchers working on the North Greenland Ice Core Project recently recovered what appear to be plant remnants nearly two miles below the surface between the bottom of the glacial ice and the bedrock.

Researchers from the project, known as NGRIP, said particles found in clumps of reddish material recovered from the frozen, muddy ice in late July look like pine needles, bark or blades of grass. Thought to date to several million years ago before the last ice age during the Pleistocene epoch smothered Greenland, the material will be analyzed in several laboratories, said researchers.

The suspected plant material under about 10,400 feet of ice indicates the Greenland Ice Sheet "formed very fast," said NGRIP project leader Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute. "There is a big possibility that this material is several million years old -- from a time when trees covered Greenland," she said.



"Several of the pieces look very much like blades of grass or pine needles," said University of Colorado at Boulder geological sciences Professor James White, a NGRIP principal investigator. "If confirmed, this will be the first organic material ever recovered from a deep ice-core drilling project," said White, also a fellow of CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

The ice cores in which the reddish material was found also contain a high content of trapped gas, which is expected to help researchers determine what the area’s climate history was like on an annual basis during the past 123,000 years. Each yearly record of ice can reveal past temperatures and precipitation levels, the content of ancient atmospheres and even evidence for the timing, direction and magnitude of distant storms, fires and volcanic eruptions, said White.

NGRIP is an international project with participants from Denmark, Germany, Japan, the United States, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Belgium and Iceland. NGRIP is funded by the participating countries, including the U.S. National Science Foundation. The cores from NGRIP are cylinders of ice four inches in diameter that were brought to the surface in 11.5-foot lengths. Developed by the NGRIP research team, the specialized deep ice drill has been used to bore several deep ice cores.

The NGRIP drilling site is located roughly in the middle of Greenland at an elevation of about 9,850 feet. The temperature in the subsurface trenches where ice-core scientists worked is minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit. CU-Boulder doctoral student Trevor Popp of INSTAAR was the lead driller on the 2004 NGRIP effort. Another CU-Boulder graduate student, Annalisa Schilla, also participated in the 2004 NGRIP field season.

James White | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.colorado.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Measurement Device: Carbon Dioxide As Geothermometer
21.05.2019 | Universität Heidelberg

nachricht Cause for variability in Arctic sea ice clarified
14.05.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

Im Focus: Recording embryonic development

Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells

The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Summit charts a course to uncover the origins of genetic diseases

22.05.2019 | Life Sciences

New study finds distinct microbes living next to corals

22.05.2019 | Life Sciences

Stellar waltz with dramatic ending

22.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>