Evidence of industrialization, plagues, and wars hidden in polar and glacial ice.
There are many ways of looking back in time to garner clues from unwritten history: fossils, artifacts, and tree rings are a few. Ice cores are another. These long, cylindrical samples – containing layers of hundreds to thousands of years of snow and ice – record details on past climate and atmospheric conditions, including pollution.
As layers of ice and snow build up on glaciers and in polar regions, they bury with them traces of pollutants like lead, carried through atmospheric circulation around the globe. Lead traces in the ice tell particularly interesting stories because lead's isotopes can be traced back to the unique mines from which it was extracted. This means that lead in Antarctic or Greenland ice can be linked back to the specific times and locations in history, such as Greek and Roman eras or World War II.
Come learn from world-renowned scientists in the DRI Ultra-Trace Ice Core Chemistry Laboratory about how lead in the ice tells stories of industrialization, plague, and wars, as well as the impact that humans have had on the environment in the recent historical record.
Monica Arienzo, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor
Joe McConnell, Ph.D., Research Professor and Director of the Ultra-Trace Ice Core Chemistry Laboratory