Radioactive dating in antartic
Past climates and temperatures, large scale Earth events such as volcanic eruptions, atmospheric changes, ice accumulation rates over time, changes in vegetation and human impacts on the overall Earth system through emissions of gases and chemicals are all information that is captured in ice cores.
Scientists can use other methods to try and determine past climates, but ice cores provide continuous, direct, high resolution information which can provide annual, as well as seasonal information.
The model suggests that ice began to build in three sections of East Antarctica - Dronning Maud Land, the Gambertsev Mountains and the Transantarctic Mountains.
After the model progresses for 300,000 years the ice sheet approximates present conditions, covering the majority of the continent, with the deepest and oldest section of ice still located over the Gamburtsev Mountains.
By flying a series of long flight lines between Lake Vostok and the Gamburtsev Mountains we can connect the radar data from this missing interior area to Lake Vostok's existing data.
This data will be available to assist China in selecting where to drill their ice core.
Currently there is limited data for this area of East Antarctica because it is so difficult to access, but we do have information on the age of the ice in one critical location... Lake Vostok, lies East of the Gamburtsev Mountains.