The difficult conditions of the glacier called for a preliminary phase with geophysical and topographic investigations, carried out using ground-penetrating radar and electromagnetic ground conductivity meters. The result of these analyses revealed, under a thin debris cover, the presence of an ice thickness equal to 26 meters, sufficient for carrying out the core drilling. A particularly complex operation made possible by the use of state-of-the-art helicopters that allowed the transport of supplies, personnel, and above all the core-drilling machine to the foot of Corno Grande, at 2,673 meters of elevation.
“The drilling was quite difficult, both because of the weather conditions, which were often very harsh, and because the ice was extremely warm and impregnated with water. The tip of the core barrel tended to get blocked and be unable to cut through the surface.”
JACOPO GABRIELI – CNR-ISP RESEARCHER AND MISSION COORDINATOR
The operations led to the extraction of a sample from a depth of 27.2 meters, which, at the moment, seems to contain all the essential information on the climatic and environmental history of central Italy. After its transfer to Antarctica, the core sample will help researchers to describe in detail Mediterranean glaciation and understand its climatic evolution.