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Upton Applauds Record Reached In Antarctica

Associate Foreign Minister, Rt Hon Simon Upton, today applauded the pioneering research completed this week by the New Zealand led Cape Roberts Project in Antarctica.

Drilling at the Cape Roberts site reached a record depth of 939 metres below the sea floor, 239 m beyond its planned depth. The research team, headed by New Zealand scientist Dr Peter Barrett, involves 80 Scientists, drillers and camp support staff from the USA, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, Australia, UK and the Netherlands.

Mr Upton said, "these experiments have been the most important that New Zealand has ever led in Antarctica. This is crucial cutting edge science and helps us piece together the formation of the Antarctic Continent and gives us hard data by which to evaluate current phenomena like Climate Change".

"Given the environmental, and technical challenges these scientists have to work under, what they have achieved is remarkable. It has again demonstrated that New Zealand scientists, working in collaboration with the best in the world, were at the forefront of Antarctic Science.

The drill hole records cycles of Antarctic climate in the period from 16 to around 34 million years ago, providing fundamental data on the behaviour of large ice sheets. In drilling deeper than planned, the project also cored, at 823 metres below the sea floor, into 300 million-year-old sandstone. Scientists hope that clues in the sandstone will provide an age for the beginning of the giant West Antarctic Rift System.

ENDS

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