Bringing up deep sediment cores from under ice-covered seas at the edge of the Antarctic continent
Christina Riesselman is a geology Ph.D. student from Stanford working on the ANDRILL (ANtarctic geological DRILLing) Southern McMurdo Sound project at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. This multinational scientific drilling project is bringing up deep cores of sediment from under ice-covered seas at the edge of the Antarctic continent. Christina and fifty-five other scientists and educators on the ANDRILL team study these cores to investigate climate change millions of years in the past. Christina’s job is to scrutinize the ancient muddy sediments with a microscope, looking for diatoms. Diatoms are abundant, single-celled marine organisms that leave behind beautiful shells of silica in a wide array of shapes and sizes. Each species of diatom has a story to tell about past environmental conditions and climate during its little window of geologic time. Christina traveled to Antarctic in October 2007 and sent photos of diatoms and her reports from mid-November until the ANDRILL project completed its season in December 2007. View the ANDRILL Webcasts to see and hear Christina and other scientists talk more about their work and what it’s revealing about past and future climate change.