Source Newsroom: North Dakota State University
Newswise — The premiere of "Ice People" is set for the 2008 Jerusalem Film Festival on July 12 and July 15, at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. The film features North Dakota State University Professors Allan Ashworth, Adam Lewis, and students Kelly Gorz and Andrew Podoll, in an Antarctic expedition filmed by a documentary crew led by Anne Aghion. The Emmy Award-winning Aghion spent four months at the U.S. research station McMurdo, and camped out for seven weeks with Dr. Ashworth and his research crew as they studied fossilized vegetation in Antarctic lakebeds.
Appearing is the film is Ashworth, a distinguished professor of geosciences at North Dakota State University, Fargo, as he conducts a research expedition amidst the austere landscape of Antarctica where the earth's climate history is frozen in time. The Antarctic summer provides 24 hours of daylight, along with challenging weather conditions and temperatures of 25 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
For scientists and the film crew of Ice People, adapting to the conditions of the beautiful and inhospitable landscape of Antarctica is crucial. View the film trailer and other information at http://www.icepeople.com. Information about Dr. Ashworth's research is available at http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/instruct/ashworth/. Of the film, Variety notes: "Anne Aghion delivers an intriguing slice-of-life that observes the area's staggeringly beautiful and imposing landscapes and the unique challenges experienced by those who work there."
Ashworth's research in Antarctica includes collecting fossils of plants, mollusks and insects which help scientists determine climate changes that enveloped the earth millions of years ago. Over four expeditions, Ashworth and his colleagues have collected hundreds of pounds of rock from which fossils will be extracted and studied by researchers worldwide. "The fossils provide detailed information about the climate," says Ashworth. The team's discoveries of volcanic ash in the deposits can be dated using radioactive isotopes in the crystals. "The fossils and the dates indicate that an abrupt climatic cooling occurred about 14 million years ago, marking the transition to the permanent ice sheets which cover the continent today," according to Ashworth.
The research of Ashworth, Lewis and other colleagues has been featured in The Washington Post, The Scientist, and GEO magazine. Ashworth also serves as chair for the U.S. National Committee for the International Union for Quaternary Research and vice president for the International Quaternary Association.
Note: The research of Dr. Allan Ashworth described here is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation's Polar Programs. The film "Ice People" is a co-production of Dry Valleys Productions, ARTE France, ITVS International, in association with Sundance Channel and is produced with a grant from the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program.
For more information:
2008 Jerusalem Film Festival
"Freeeze-Dried Findings Support a Tale of Two Ancient Climates"