Core Samples

A blue, green and grey exhibt which has 3 core sample boxes at the front with red knobs on top of each, and a large vertical information panel at the back.
A blue, green and grey exhibt which has 3 core sample boxes at the front with red knobs on top of each, and a large vertical information panel at the back.

Scientists take core samples to study layers of ice or earth and their age, composition and evidence of living organisms.

How it works

Lift each knob to look at the model core samples (not to scale).

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

Which layer was laid down first—the layer at the bottom or the top?

Background

Many clues about Earth’s history are held deep underground. Scientists drill out long plugs of earth called core samples and study their mineral content, gas levels, fossils, microorganisms and plant materials.

Finding the science in your world

Core samples can show the location of useful products (coal or oil); when ice ages, tsunamis and earthquakes occurred; the type of animals that lived in the past or what gas levels were like thousands of years ago.