Polar scientists said Thursday they had successfully drilled a 2,000-year-old ice core in the heart of Antarctica in a bid to retrieve a frozen record of how the planet's climate has evolved.
The Aurora Basin North project involves scientists from Australia, China, France, Denmark, Germany and the United States who hope it will also advance the search for the scientific "holy grail" of the million-year-old ice core.
The five-week expedition, in a hostile area that harbours some of the deepest ice in the frozen continent, over three kilometres (1.9-miles) thick, will give experts access to some of the most detailed records yet of past climate in the vast region.
About two tonnes of ice core sections drilled at Aurora Basin, 500 kilometres (310 miles) inland of Australia's Casey station, is now being distributed to Australian and international ice core laboratories.
They will conduct an analysis of atmospheric gases, particles and other chemical elements that were trapped in snow as it fell and compacted to form ice.