Why is Ice from Antarctica and Greenland Brought to Colorado?
Antarctica and Greenland are both thousands of miles away from Colorado, but these two places are surprisingly close to the Centennial State in a different kind of way.
The two locations share a unique connection with Colorado. Ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland are stored inside the National Science Foundation Ice Core Facility in Lakewood. Ice cores are cylinders of ice drilled from ice sheets and glaciers. The ice contains information about the planet’s past and the history of its climate. The samples are used by scientists for studying and curating, as well as predicting future climate change.
The ice is preserved in aluminum-lined cardboard tubes inside a large warehouse-type building. The archive freezer is 55,000 cubic feet in size and is kept at a frigid temperature of -32.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Storing samples at this repository allows researchers to study ice cores without having to travel all the way to Antarctica or Greenland. Currently, there are about 22,000 meters of ice core in the facility, that was collected from various locations in Antarctica, Greenland, and North America - that's miles of ancient glacial ice!
There is also a separate examination room inside the building where researchers can take pieces of ice samples to perform in-depth studies. This 12,000 cubic feet area is kept at a temperature of -11 degrees Fahrenheit. The scientists conduct examinations and measurements on the ice cores stored in Denver. In some cases, the ice kept in Colorado's laboratory is sent to other labs throughout the country for further evaluation.
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Several other rooms exist outside of the freezer facility, including changing spaces, a visiting scientist workspace, and a filtered cold clean room.
The important facility was Initially established in 1993 as The National Ice Core Laboratory. Its name was changed to the National Science Foundation Ice Core Facility in 2018. The lab is located inside the Denver Federal Center and is managed and operated by the U.S. Geological Survey for the National Science Foundation.
Pretty cool stuff!