Measuring Ice Cores
Printer Friendly: pdf version
One of the research projects of the ITASE team is to drill
for and collect ice cores which will be studied stateside
for a number of properties including chemical make-up, permeability,
density, microstructures, and the evidence of past climatic
events. The team will drill cores at six sites along their
route and they anticipate collecting 70 to 80 meters of
core at each site. This will give them a record over the
past 200 years.
Use adding machine tape. (You will need several rolls.)
For each recorded drill, measure the length of the cores
taken then cut the strips. Label it with the date and
the site number. You will need a long space to do this.
It is a great visual representation. Keep the cut pieces
from each drill site together. As the team leaves each
site, the pieces could be rolled out end-to-end to see
the total length, if you have a long space available.
The team plans to collect 70 to 80 meters at each site.
This activity gives measuring practice to a few at a time
and subtly models the idea of record keeping and labeling.
The math could be done right on the tape to find the amount
collected on that day and to keep a running total.
the students keep bar graphs of the ice collected. Set
up the graphs so the amount at each site is kept on one
bar, but the amount of each drill is recognizable within
the bar. The x-axis represents each of the 6 sites. The
y-axis represents meters of ice drilled.
a more radical idea: Measure and cut each new
Hang them up on the wall by winding around the room
horizontally, adding each new core to the last! Be ready
to wind around 480 meters!
• Last year they recorded the ice cores as a running
total, so the subtraction will need to be done before
• Adding machine tape comes in rolls anywhere from
85’ to 190’.
• The longest drill last year was 119.5 m.
• The most core drilled at a site last year was