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This site explains what can be learned from an ice core. Scientists collect ice cores by driving a hollow tube deep into the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland (and in glaciers elsewhere). The cylinders of ancient ice that they retrieve provide a detailed record of what was happening in the world over the past several ice ages. Each layer of ice in a core corresponds to a single year - or sometimes even a single season - and most of what fell in the snow that year remains behind, including wind-blown dust, ash, atmospheric gases, even radioactivity indicated by the fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear accident that has turned up in ice cores. The site contains nine graphs depicting these traces of the past with an explanation of each.
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