European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA)



EPICA is a multinational European project for deep ice core drilling in Antarctica.  Its main objective is to obtain full documentation of the climatic and atmospheric record archived in Antarctic ice by drilling and analyzing two ice cores and comparing these with their Greenland counterparts. Evaluation of these records will provide information about the natural climate variability and mechanisms of rapid climatic changes during the last glacial epoch. More

Deep drilling has taken place at two sites in Antarctica:

Concordia Station, Dome C (coordinates 75°06’S; 123°21’E, 3233 m above sea level) Go to Website:

This site was chosen to obtain the longest undisturbed chronicle of environmental change, in order to characterise climate variability over several glacial cycles, and to study potential climate forcings and their relationship to events in other regions.  Drilling was completed at this site in December 2004, reaching a drilling depth of 3270.2 m, 5 m above bedrock.  The retrieved core will extend the record to an age estimated to be around 890 000 years old.

photo courtesy of Laurent Augustin, LGGE, Grenoble
EPICA DOME C : drilling

Kohnen Station, Dronning Maud Land (coordinates 75°00’S; 00°04’E, 2892 m above sea level):

Higher annual snowfall and sensitivity to conditions over the South Atlantic will allow study of any links between shifts in the Atlantic Ocean circulation and the rapid climate events detected over Greenland.

The ESF EPICA Programme (1996-2006) provides co-ordination for EPICA drilling activities at Dome Concordia and Kohnen Station, which are supported by the European Commission and by national contributions from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

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Five years, from January 1996 to December 2000.
Extended for a further six years, January 2001 to December 2006
For current status, see News  

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