Locating a drilling site on the Patagonian Icefields 

The Patagonian Icefields - A Unique Natural Laboratory for Environmental and Climate Change Studies, p. 117-124, 2002 

N. Gundestrup
Geofysisk Afdeling, Niels Bohr Instituttet for Astronomi, Fysik og Geofysik, Københavns Universitet

Locating a suitable drill site involves a number of compromises. At the proper place, an ice core can provide a record of climate changes in the past. Also, everything that has precipitated on the ice cap will be preserved, including biological fall out. At cold places, even gases are preserved in the bubbles in the ice, or in the ice lattice. In fact the ice cap can be considered as a long-term storage of both climatological and environmental information. In order to retrieve the information, and ice core has to be drilled. The site where the core is drilled determines the information that can be obtained. At a high accumulation site, it may be possible to obtain information at time scales of a fraction of a year. At a site with less accumulation, it may be possible to obtain records going further back in time. Summer melting obliterates the signals from the ice core, and for most studies summer melting should be minimized. The best drilling site therefore depends on the purpose of the drilling.