The ice drilling in Antarctica in search of clues on past climate reached a depth of 611 meters in record time as part of the European project Beyond Epica Oldest Ice, coordinated by the Institute of Polar Sciences (Isp) of the National Council of research (Cnr).
The researchers themselves communicated it on Twitter.
"The drilling continues at a good pace: we are now at a depth of 611 meters", they write in the tweet.
"The crackling and popping of ice cores as pressure is released during ascent suggests we may have reached brittle ice!"
Underway at the Little Dome C remote field is the deep drilling phase of the project, which intends to sample and analyze ice up to a depth of 2.7 kilometers.
The goal is to reconstruct the Earth's climatic history of the last one and a half million years, discovering past temperatures and concentrations of greenhouse gases.
An international team of 15 people (including 4 Italians) is working in the field, at an altitude of over 3,200 meters on the Antarctic plateau with average summer temperatures of minus 35 degrees.
The project, funded by the European Commission with 11 million euros, aims to complete the core drilling in the coming years.
Twelve partner research centres, from ten European and non-European countries: for Italy, in addition to the Cnr and the Ca' Foscari University, Enea is in charge, together with the French Polar Institute (Ipev), of the work related to logistics.