Below is a short summary report of what happened on the Ortler project over the course of the last month.
Between 23 September and6 October 2011, four ice cores were extracted at 3,860 metres from the “Vedretta Alta dell’Ortles” glacier in South Tyrol. This is the first time ice cores have been extracted from the Eastern Alps. The rock, which lies 75 metres below the glacier, was reached during three of the extractions, whereas during the last operation, perforation only reached 60 metres.
From a technical point of view the operations were particularly complex, due to the presence of temperate firn (down to 24 metres) and ice (beneath the surface, down to the rocky substratum). From a scientific point of view the researchers were able to prove what had been guessed already during preliminary research in recent years: that the “Vedretta Alta dell’Ortles” glacier still contains non-temperate ice, despite the hot summers of the past 30 years. This is a basic condition for obtaining the paleoclimatic information sought.
The “Vedretta Alta dell’Ortles” glacier is a thermal archive which conserves data from colder periods in the past and can therefore be used as a perforation site in order to analyse climatic and environmental conditions in the past.
In the course of this project, two of the four perforation sites were equipped with instruments which will enable useful data to be obtained in order to analyse the dynamic and thermal system of the perforation site.