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Vostok (Antarctica) ice-core time-scale from datings of different origins

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Three different approaches to ice-core age dating are employed to develop a depth–age relationship at Vostok, Antarctica: (1) correlating the ice-core isotope record to the geophysical metronome (Milankovich surface temperature cycles) inferred from the borehole temperature profile, (2) importing a known chronology from another (Devils Hole, Nevada, USA) paleoclimatic signal, and (3) direct ice-sheet flow modeling. Inverse Monte Carlo sampling is used to constrain the accumulation-rate reconstruction and ice-flow simulations in order to find the best-fit glaciological time-scale matched with the two other chronologies. The general uncertainty of the different age estimates varies from 2 to 6 kyr on average and reaches 6–15 kyr at maximum. Whatever the causes of this discrepancy might be, they are thought to be of different origins, and the age errors are assumed statistically independent. Thus, the average time-scale for the Vostok ice core down to 3350 m depth is deduced consistent with all three dating procedures within the standard deviation limits of ±3.6 kyr, and its accuracy is estimated as 2.2 kyr on average. The constrained ice-sheet flow model allows, at least theoretically, extrapolation of the ice age–depth curve further to the boundary with the accreted lake ice where (at 3530 m depth) the glacier-ice age may reach ∼2000 kyr.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2004

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  • 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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