Dr Mark Curran with an ice core.
Dr Mark Curran processes an ice core at Law Dome. Dr Curran is the Science Leader for the Aurora Basin project. (Photo: Tas van Ommen)

Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre

I am the Science Leader for the Aurora Basin ice core drilling project. I have been planning this project for a number of years and in December 2013 we will start drilling. In the field, I will be drilling the main 400 m ice core using the Danish Hans Tausen ice core drill. I will also oversee the other scientific activities being undertaken at the site.

Career highlights

I am a research scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division’s Climate Processes and Change program and the ACE CRC’s cryosphere program. I am originally from Ireland. I obtained my PhD from James Cook University in North Queensland. My PhD was focussed on measuring natural sulphur compounds from phytoplankton in seawater in the Great Barrier Reef and the Southern Ocean. This progressed to measuring sulphur in ice cores, which strangely led to a paper in the journal Science about reconstructing Antarctic sea ice extent over the past 150 years. In my current role, which I’ve held since 1996, I lead the Hobart ice core group and I have been involved in many research trips drilling ice cores in both Antarctica and Greenland. This Aurora Basin ice core project will produce some great science and is also a stepping stone for drilling for a 1 million year old ice core.