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Mass-balance rates derived by mapping internal tephra layers in Mýrdalsjökull and Vatnajökull ice caps, Iceland

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Internal tephra layers of known age have been detected by radio-echo soundings within the Mýrdalsjökull and Vatnajökull ice caps in Iceland. Assuming steady state, the estimated strain rates since these isochrones were deposited on the glacier surface have been used to calculate past average specific net balance rates in the accumulation zones along three flowlines on Mýrdalsjökull and one on Vatnajökull. For the period 1918–91 the specific mass-balance rate has been estimated to 4.5 and 3.5 m a−1 at 1350 m a.s.l. on the southern and northern slopes of Mýrdalsjökull, respectively. At 1800 m elevation on the Bárdarbunga ice dome in Vatnajökull, the specific net balance averaged over the last three centuries is estimated to be about 2.1 m a−1. Given this specific net balance, a revised age–depth timescale is presented for a 400 m deep ice core recovered in 1972 from Bárdarbunga. The ice at the bottom is estimated to be from AD 1750.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 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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