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Glaciochemical dating of an ice core from upper Grenzgletscher (4200 m a.s.l.)

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One crucial condition for the interpretation of ice-core records is the establishment of an accurate time-scale. This task is especially difficult for glacier sites in a complex topography such as the Alps, due to the often irregular deposition of fresh precipitation. In this work, dating techniques were applied to an Alpine ice core fromupper Grenzgletscher, Monte Rosa massif (4200 m a.s.l.), representing about two-thirds of the total glacier thickness. They are based on (i) the radioactive decay of the isotope 210Pb, (ii) seasonally varying signals such as the concentrations of NH4+ and the isotopic ratio 18O, and (iii) stratigraphic markers from Saharan dust falls, atmospheric nuclear weapon tests and the reactor accident in Chernobyl. Fromthe combined application of these dating methods, a time period of 1937–94 covered by the ice core was derived. Dating uncertainty is <1 year for the period 1970–94 and ± 2 years for the period 1937–69. The observed thinning of the annual layers as a function of depth could be well described by a simple kinematic glacier flow model.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-06-01

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.

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