A multimillion-year-old record of Greenland vegetation and glacial history preserved in sediment beneath 1.4 km of ice at Camp Century
Understanding Greenland Ice Sheet history is critical for predicting its response to future climate warming and contribution to sea-level rise. We analyzed sediment at the bottom of the Camp Century ice core, collected 120 km from the coast in northwestern Greenland. The sediment, frozen under nearly 1.4 km of ice, contains well-preserved fossil plants and biomolecules sourced from at least two ice-free warm periods in the past few million years. Enriched stable isotopes in pore ice indicate precipitation at lower elevations than present, implying ice-sheet absence. The similarity of cosmogenic isotope ratios in the upper-most sediment to those measured in bedrock near the center of Greenland suggests that the ice sheet melted and re-formed at least once during the past million years.