While collecting samples to define the limits of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) on Mt. Kyffin, John Stone uncovered an ancient ice core hidden under the moraine deposits. Underneath our feet all over the mountain lies ice from the LGM. It forms the "core", or center, of the glacial deposit. (This is different from a conventional ice "core" which is obtained by using a drilling rig that bores straight down into a glacier or polar cap and extracts a column of ice.)

John Stone uncovering ancient glacial ice.
John Stone is working to uncover glacial ice that remains from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). It was only about 10 centimeters below the surface.

As John was walking down the slope, some rocks slid out from under his feet and he saw the ice wasn't far underneath - only about 10 centimeters (5 inches). Taking an ice axe, he was able to quickly uncover a sizeable portion of ancient ice. He estimated this ice to be around 15,000 years old. After chipping away the top couple of centimeters that had embedded gravel, we were able to see pure, clean ice. Twit then chopped out large pieces so we could see bubbles of air containing gases from the ancient atmosphere.

Lesley next to 15,000 year old glacial ice in Antarctica.
Here I am next to a patch of 15,000 year old glacial ice lying underneath the LGM on Mt. Kyffin.

It was amazing to be able to hold and taste ice that was around so long ago.

Lesley tasting ice from the LGM.
This ice tastes great! Once you get past the gravel, it's very clean and fresh.