Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Greenland Ice Core Project Yields Probable Ancient Plant Remains

Date:
August 17, 2004
Source:
University Of Colorado
Summary:
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.

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.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Departement of Geophysics, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen". For more information, see: http://www.glaciology.gfy.ku.dk/ngrip/

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Colorado. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Colorado. "Greenland Ice Core Project Yields Probable Ancient Plant Remains." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040816090439.htm>.
University Of Colorado. (2004, August 17). Greenland Ice Core Project Yields Probable Ancient Plant Remains. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040816090439.htm
University Of Colorado. "Greenland Ice Core Project Yields Probable Ancient Plant Remains." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040816090439.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins