Glaciological research at the South Pole is supported through the US National Science Foundation Glaciology Program. Snow accumulation at the South Pole has been intermittently monitored since the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-1958. Records show that net annual accumulation rates have increased since the 1960s. The net annual average accumulation rate between 1992-97 was 84.5 ± 8.9 mm water equivalent.
Also of interest is the presence of volcanic ash at the South Pole, dispersed by eruptions thousands of kilometers away and transported by wind to the area. Significant quantities of volcanic ash are visible in thin layers deep within the glacial ice, which can be used to date horizons within the ice column and through this help to calibrate the age of the ice layers. This is very useful to understand past changes in the Earth's atmosphere and climate.