How can scientists tell the age of Antarctica just by
looking at the ice.
Scientists can estimate the age partly by the depth of the
ice that has accumulated. They can estimate the amount of
snow that has fallen each year and how it compresses to
build up into the depth that exists now. However, some of
the age dating is done through chemical analyses of the
gases in the ice column, careful examination of sediment
layers, and perhaps radiocarbon dating if enough organic
matter exists. These methods are not infallible or
perfectly accurate, but the methods are constantly
improving as we learn from the large number of ice cores
that have been taken from all over the world.
Meteorologist at Argonne Nat. Lab.
Click here to return to the Environmental and Earth Science Archives
Update: June 2012