The members of the polar expedition PS104 were the first researchers that were able to drill a well in the transverse shelf of the Islands pine island, and retrieve the deposits of the Cretaceous period. The core was sampled from a depth of 30 meters below the level of the bottom of the ocean and proved to be a valuable find for sedimentological, paleoclimatological and vitalities analysis. The obtained data allowed to accurately simulate the environmental conditions and the structure of the ecosystem of the rain forests that covered Antarctica 88 million years ago. The study is published in the journal Nature.
Late Cretaceous was one of the warmest periods over the last 140 million years. This is due to the high content of dioxide of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, constituting at that time approximately 1000 ppm (the current level is 400 ppm). Scientists could not say for sure what constitutes the vegetation of Antarctica at the time and whether the existence of polar ice in such conditions. Extraction of ancient deposits on this continent is extremely difficult, and such data has been accumulated very little. In 2017, at the bottom of the Amundsen Bay managed to deploy a remotely operated drilling rig MARUM-MeBo70 and get to the depth of 30.7 meters below the sea floor, which was extracted core samples of Cretaceous sediments.
Johann Klages (Johann P. Klages) and his colleagues studied the core samples using computer tomography and other methods that allowed to establish the mineralogical composition of sediments and their stratification and to determine the types of plants in their petrified roots and pollen samples.