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As snow is layered it compresses, and over time the lower layers are turned into ice, capturing small samples of the atmosphere as air bubbles.
These natural ice archives with trapped chemicals, dust and air, can hold a a tremendous amount of information for scientists.
Scientific models are ways that scientists can look at possible explanations for large scale processes that they can't directly observe.
Scientists have modeled ice formation in East Antarctica as it transitioned from a more temperate environment to an icy continent.
This means that all this information trapped in the snow is being captured and sealed in place.Some scientists collect sediment cores from the bottom of the ocean using long hollow tubes, which are pushed into the sediment collected on the ocean floor.Other scientists collect rock cores by drilling a hollow metal tube into the Earth and removing a section of rock.Currently there is limited data for this area of East Antarctica because it is so difficult to access, but we do have information on the age of the ice in one critical location... Lake Vostok, lies East of the Gamburtsev Mountains.
Lake Vostok ice cores and radar data has been the focus of international study for several years.The image shown above is an example of seasonal and annual ice layering within an ice core.