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Incorporation of particulates into accreted ice above subglacial Vostok lake, Antarctica

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Abstract:

The nature of microscopic particulates in meteoric and accreted ice from the Vostok (Antarctica) ice core is assessed in conjunction with existing ice-core data to investigate the mechanism by which particulates are incorporated into refrozen lake water. Melted ice samples from a range of icecore depths were filtered through 0.2 m polycarbonate membranes, and secondary electron images were collected at ×500 magnification using a scanning electron microscope. Image analysis software was used to characterize the size and shape of particulates. Similar distributions of major-axis lengths, surface areas and shape factors (aspect ratio and compactness) for particulates in all accreted ice samples suggest that a single process may be responsible for incorporating the vast majority of particulates for all depths. Calculation of Stokes settling velocities for particulates of various sizes implies that 98% of particulates observed could 'float' to the ice–water interface with upward water velocities of 0.0003 m s−1 where they could be incorporated by growing ice crystals, or by rising frazil ice crystals. The presence of particulates that are expected to sink in the water column (2%) and the uneven distribution of particulates in the ice core further implies that periodic perturbations to the lake's circulation, involving increased velocities, may have occurred in the past.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756405781813555

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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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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