Greenland bedrock


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A drill reaches bedrock under the Greenland Ice Sheet

Dorthe Dahl-Jensen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen holds up in triumph the last ice core drilled to a depth of 2537.36 metres at the deep drilling site NEEM on the Greenland Ice Sheet. The core contains rocky debris from a land surface corresponding with the Eemian interglacial period, which was warmer than now about 120,000 years ago. Clues in the ice and the bedrock are expected to give new information about climate change during that warm time, the extent of the residual ice sheet, and in the onset of cold conditions that led to the growth of the present ice sheet. The bedrock material may also include traces of much older life and associated climatic events. Credit: NEEM

Bedrock was reached on 27July, but in company with the American media I’ve just caught up with the news today. Under Danish-US leadership, the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project, NEEM, has kept 300 scientists from 14 countries busy over the past five years. The drilling itself started in June 2009 and proceeded rapidly to its conclusion. It’s striking that they know the depth to within a centimetre.

The first results may be published later this year. Meanwhile you can see more pictures and information at