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Lake Coring in NYC and Greenland

To predict our climate future requires a better understanding of our climate past. Lakes provide clues to our climate history in their bottom sediments. In this guest contribution, Dr. Billy D’Andrea explains that sediment is made up of material that washes up or blows into the lake and mixes with other organisms that live in the lake. This material settles on the lake floor each year, and D’Andrea studies these layers to determine how the environment has changed over time.

For his studies, D’Andrea extracts the sediment cores from a platform on the lake, such as a boat, or if the lake is frozen, the surface ice. His team attaches a series of rods to a tube that is inserted into the mud of the lake floor. The sediment stays in the tube when the scientists withdraw it due to an internal piston that creates a kind of vacuum. This process of sediment extraction is known as lake coring.

In his slideshow, D’Andrea talks about why he finds lake coring interesting and fun.

Homepage photo credit: Daniel Case