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At the bottom of a core (lower: 3,050 meters), rocks, sand, and silt discolor the ice. In a general sense, the thickness of each annual layer tells how much snow accumulated at that location during the year.Differences in cores taken from the same area can reveal local wind patterns by showing where the snow drifted.Scientists have also taken cores from thick mountain glaciers in places such as the Andes Mountains in Peru and Bolivia, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and the Himalayas in Asia.The gradually increasing weight of overlying layers compresses deeply buried snow into ice, but annual bands remain.“The next thing most people notice is the layering.”Blue light filtered through the wall of an Antarctic snow pit illuminates "Tuck," the mascot for Tuckahoe Elementary School in Henrico County, Virginia.

The snow is blue, something like the blue seen by deep sea divers, an indescribable, almost achingly beautiful blue,” writes Alley.Relatively young and shallow snow becomes packed into coarse and granular crystals called (top: 53 meters deep).Older and deeper snow is compacted further (middle: 1,836 meters). National Ice Core Laboratory) The ice cores can provide an annual record of temperature, precipitation, atmospheric composition, volcanic activity, and wind patterns.One pit is covered, and the other is left open to sunlight.By standing in the covered pit, scientists can study the annual snow layers in the snow wall as the sunlight filters through the other side.

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More importantly, the make-up of the snow itself can tell scientists about past temperatures.

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