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Three-dimensional snow images by X-ray microtomography

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Abstract:

For the first time, three-dimensional (3-D) high-resolution images of snow were obtained using X-ray absorption tomography. Images with a spatial resolution of 10 m were taken on four different cylindrical snow samples (9 mm high, 9 mm diameter). About 1000 two-dimensional X-ray absorption images were recorded at angular positions of the object around an axis spanning 180°. An appropriate algorithm was then used for these data to reconstruct a 3-D image. In the case of snow, experimental problems have been solved to prepare the samples and prevent both melting and metamorphism of snow during the experiments. This tomographic method provided 3-D data files from which images of 6003 voxels were extracted. Several physical parameters of snow microstructure can be processed from these data. Porosity P and discrete local (3-D) curvature C of the grain/pore interface were computed for the four snow samples. Representative elementary volume (REV, in the sense of porous media) is a relevant index to the significance of the sample size with respect to a given parameter. From each image, the values of P and C are compared for subsamples of different size, as an attempt to assess the REVs for porosity and curvature. Results show that the observed volume of snow is statistically significant to achieve the porosity and the curvature distribution.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756401781819418

Publication date: January 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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