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Growth processes of an inland Antarctic ice wedge, Mesa Range, northern Victoria Land

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During the 16th Italian Antarctic Expedition (2000/01) a geomorphological survey of permafrost-related polygons was carried out in the Mesa Range area, upper Rennick Glacier. The investigated site is located in the uppermost reaches of Pain Mesa, which forms the northern sector of the Mesa Range. An ice wedge was found in a volcanic regolith at about 2200 m a.s.l. This altitude is below a well-defined erosional trimline, located at about 2380 m a.s.l. in this sector of Pain Mesa. The ice was sampled by inserting an ice screw, with an internal diameter of 14 mm, into the ice wedge in vertical sequences. Oriented block samples for thin sections were taken. A co-isotopic study was performed, measuring both oxygen (18O) and hydrogen (D) isotope compositions. Tritium activity was measured, and major cations and anions were determined. The 18O and D obtained showed a strong divergence from the snowfalls expected to occur at this elevation, with extremely negative d excess values. Sublimation processes were taken into account to define the origin of the ice forming the wedge. The tritium data obtained suggest that the growth process of the ice wedge might still be active today.

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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