Antarctic Ice Sheet: Preliminary Results of First Core Hole to Bedrock

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  06 Sep 1968:
Vol. 161, Issue 3845, pp. 1011-1013
DOI: 10.1126/science.161.3845.1011


The Antarctic ice sheet at Byrd Station has been core-drilled to bedrock; the vertical thickness of the ice is 2164 meters. Liquid water-indicative of pressure melting-was encountered at the bed. Heat flow through the base of the ice sheet is estimated at 1.8 microcalories per square centimeter per second. The minimum temperature was -28.8°C at 800 meters; maximum ice density, 0.9206 at 1000 meters. Core studies reveal the existence of a chemically pure, structurally stratified sheet comprising bubbly ice to 900 meters that transforms to bubble-free deformed ice, with substantially vertically orientated c-axis structure, below 1200 meters. Below 1800 meters the deformed ice structure gives way to large annealed crystals. Several thin layers of dirt between 1300 and 1700 meters are tentatively identified as volcanic ash, and horizontally banded debris, including fragments of granite, is present in the basal ice.

Stay Connected to Science