I read these sentences in a chapter in my book which was Journey to the end of the Earth:

Either way, Antarctica is a crucial element in this debate - not just because it's the only place in the world which has never sustained a human population and therefore remains relatively pristine in this respect but more importantly because it holds in its ice- cores half million year old carbon records trapped in its layers of ice.

I can't help myself figuring out what the word "record" mean when used with carbon.

  • Antarctic ice is very old and has built up in layers- the deeper you go, the older the ice. If you drill into antarctic ice and extract ice cores... cylinders of ice from different depths- you can analyze the carbon dioxide content. The ice at a particular depth provides a measure of atmospheric carbon dioxide when that ice was deposited. The oxford dictionary defines a record as "A thing constituting a piece of evidence about the past, especially an account kept in writing or some other permanent form.". bas.ac.uk/data/our-data/publication/…
    – JavaLatte
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 4:31
  • ... this question is probably off topic because it's not really about English.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 4:34
  • See record noun definition 1: A thing constituting a piece of evidence about the past. If you understand how carbon can be stored in layers of ice, you understand why it can be called a "record".
    – Andrew
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 5:37

1 Answer 1


A "record" is the information stored about something or someone:

He has a long criminal record.

The information about the Earth's level of Carbon dioxide (ie the Earth's carbon records) can be found out by looking at the ice in Antarctica. (The ice contains tiny bubbles of air from the atmosphere 500000 years ago)

The information about the Earth's carbon dioxide is recorded in old ice. Old ice form part of the Earth's carbon records.

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