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During the brief Arctic summer of 1993, the Ocean Drilling Program's research vessel JOIDES Resolution recovered the first scientific drill cores from the eastern Arctic Ocean. Dodging rafts of pack ice shed from the Arctic ice cap, the science party sampled sediments north of 80°N latitude from the Yermak Plateau, as well as from sites in Fram Strait, the northeastern Greenland margin, and the Iceland Plateau (Figure 1).

The sediments collected reveal the earliest history of the connection between the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans through the Nordic Seas. The region between Greenland and Norway first formed a series of isolated basins, sometimes with restricted deep circulation, that eventually joined and allowed deep and surface Arctic Ocean water to invade the region. A record was also retrieved that shows major glaciation in the region began about 2.5 m.y.a.