The Greenland Ice Sheet Program in Perspective

  1. C.C. Langway Jr.,
  2. H. Oeschger and
  3. W. Dansgaard
  1. C. C. Langway Jr.1,
  2. H. Oeschger2 and
  3. W. Dansgaard Jr.3

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM033p0001

Greenland Ice Core: Geophysics, Geochemistry, and the Environment

Greenland Ice Core: Geophysics, Geochemistry, and the Environment

How to Cite

Langway, C. C., Oeschger, H. and Dansgaard, W. (1985) The Greenland Ice Sheet Program in Perspective, in Greenland Ice Core: Geophysics, Geochemistry, and the Environment (eds C.C. Langway, H. Oeschger and W. Dansgaard), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM033p0001

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Geological Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Amherst, New York

  2. 2

    Physics Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland

  3. 3

    Geophysical Isotope Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1985

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900575

Online ISBN: 9781118664155



  • Ice sheets—Greenland—Addresses, essays, lectures;
  • Greenland Ice Sheet Program


The Greenland Ice Sheet Program (GISP) was designed as a comprehensive interdisciplinary field and laboratory research effort to systematically determine the geophysical and geochemical characteristics of the ice sheet. The total program consisted of an array of separate but integrated science and engineering projects initially involving four principal research groups at: State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY/Buffalo), University of Copenhagen, Denmark and the Technical University of Denmark, and University of Bern, Switzerland. Two of the major goals of GISP were mapping the thickness and the subsurface topography of the ice sheet, and continuous core drilling to bedrock. A radar survey was completed in 1974, and in the first drilling season at Dye 3 in 1971 and a 372-m deep, 10.2-cm diameter, ice core was recovered, followed thereafter by a nearly annual field operation: 1973 (Milcent, 398 m), 1974 (Crete, 405 m) and during 1979, 1980, and 1981 at Dye 3 where bedrock was reached at 2037-m depth on August 10, 1981 with a new deep drill.

The prime and broad objectives of the ice core investigations were to gain fuller understanding of the near-surface, internal, and subsurface nature, structure and composition of the ice sheet. Of special importance was the interaction between the dynamic and atmospheric processes affecting the ice sheet's formation, growth and decay, and its response to climatic change. Core studies incude stratigraphy, physical and mechanical properties, chemistry, microparticles, entrapped gases, stable isotopes, and radioactive isotopes. Airborne, surface, and borehole geophysical studies include radioecho soundings, magnetometry, gravimetry, strains and velocities, temperature and electromagnetic and sonic wave propagation. All major engineering and science goals of GlSP were achieved.