The Earth System

Preparation for the Antarctic Research Facility Lab

The Antarctic Research Facility (ARF) stores the largest collection of marine sediment cores in the world. What's sediment, what's a core? That's what these pages are here to help explain. Follow Step One and Step Two. Some common terms that you may hear in lab will be italicized. After completing Step Two move on to Step 3: you should be able to answer all of the questions on the Knowledge Sheet.

Step One

Click on each one of the links below. They'll take you to other pages that will help to explain some of the basic Earth processes at work that make and deposit sediment, which is what core samples (a.k.a. cores) are made of. Researchers take the cores and analyze the sediment to learn about past climate changes (among other things).

Step Two:

Now you have some idea of how sediment is formed and how cores are collected. There some basic principles that scientists apply in order to deduce what information is hidden in the cores. Review the following sites. Be very sure you understand the general concepts and terms in italics:

Step Three:

Related Sites

These optional sites may be useful in your preparation, or just interesting.
-Get the lay of the land with pictures of Antartica taken near McMurdo Station. Check out the diatoms page under the "Streams" general heading.
- More pictures of plankton than you can shake a stick at.
-The Geologylink geologic glossary has definitions of some basic geological terms (although not for the plankton).
-The FSU Antarctic Research Facility