Comment on “Antarctic drill extracts new core for climate studies”



The March 15 issue of Eos reported completion of a new ice core drilled to bedrock in Antarctica (Antarctic drill extracts new core for climate studies, Eos, 75(11), 129). A paleoclimate record over a large part of the last ice age—possibly 60,000 years or longer—is expected from the site, identified in the article as McMurdo Dome.

We wish to clarify two points. First, the 200,000 year paleoclimate record reported in the March 15 story is incorrect. Second, we wish to forestall future confusion in the literature in regard to the name McMurdo Dome used in the Eos article. On the basis of an airborne radio-echo sounding survey, Drewry [1980] first recognized the existence of an ice dome of approximately 30×80 km on the East Antarctic Plateau west of the Dry Valleys. Because the dome is the source of Taylor Glacier in Taylor Valley, he called the feature Taylor Dome. However, in the absence of an official name, the variant, McMurdo Dome, was also used in the literature [Denton et al., 1989], and for operations and field planning within the U.S. Antarctic Program.