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Lake El'gygytgyn drilling project (Image 2)

Drilling platform on the ice cover of Lake El'gygytgyn

The drilling platform for the Lake El'gygytgyn project on the ice cover of Lake El'gygytgyn. The container in the front encloses two generators for energy supply. [Image 2 of 8 related images. See Image 3.]

More about this image
In 2012, researchers with the Lake El'gygytgyn (pronounced El'gee-git-gin) drilling project, or "Lake E" project, announced their results from the first analyses of the longest sediment cores ever retrieved on land, taken from beneath remote, ice-covered Lake El'gygytgyn in the northeastern Russian Arctic. Examination of the cores showed that intense warm climate intervals -- warmer than scientists thought possible -- have occurred in the Arctic over the past 2.8 million years. They show that the extreme warm periods in the Arctic correspond closely with times when parts of Antarctica were also ice-free and warm, suggesting a strong connection between Northern and Southern Hemisphere climate.

The researchers say this exceptional climate warming in the Arctic, and the inter-hemispheric interdependencies, weren't known before the Lake E studies. The lake was formed 3.6 million years ago when a huge meteorite hit Earth, leaving an 11-mile-wide crater. It's been collecting layers of sediment ever since. Cores from Lake E go far back in time, almost 30 times farther than Greenland ice cores covering the past 110,000 years.

Lake E's past, say the researchers, could be the key to our global climate future.

[The Lake E project was funded by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Earth Sciences and Office of Polar Programs (grant EAR 06-02471).

Learn more about this research in the NSF News Release Remote Siberian lake holds clues to Arctic--and Antarctic--climate change. (Date image taken: 2009; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Dec. 28, 2017)

Credit: Olaf Juschus, Berlin

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