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Rights: Science Learning Hub
Published 21 June 2007
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Dr Katja Riedel of NIWA explains how difficult it is to collect the ice cores and transport them safely from the Antarctic back to the research laboratory in Wellington, New Zealand.

Transcript

DR KATJA RIEDEL
When we try to get the ice cores back to New Zealand, what we do is actually we drill these 2 metres and then we have a kind of cardboard container, wooden container, and we need to chop the ice really, so you take a big saw, and then you start sawing this ice, and instead of 2 metres you only have then 1 metre pieces. You wrap them up in cardboard boxes, staple them in a big freezer, and then you ship this freezer back to New Zealand.

Ice is under very high pressure, and the lower you get the higher the pressure is because this big weight is there, and the little bubbles have 5 times more pressure or 20 times more pressure than they normally would have at the atmosphere. And sometimes it’s even when you put the saw on the ice core to cut it into halves, then you suddenly have this {noise} and the whole ice core falls in pieces. And it’s actually one of the most challenging 3 dimensional puzzles I’ve ever done, trying to get this ice core back together, and fit it into the cardboard tube.