In the past, two-dimensional images of internal snow structure have been obtained through plane surface sections or thin sections. These techniques are time-consuming and necessarily destroy the snow specimen. Computed tomography (CT) allows similar images to be obtained, but in a more efficient and non-destructive manner. To demonstrate the methodology, a CT scanner was used to obtain cross-sectional images over time of a snow sample undergoing kinetic-growth metamorphism. Densities calculated from the CT images correlated well to density measured using a traditional method. A procedure was developed that allows the CT image to be converted to binary in an objective manner. Employing innovative stereological software, the microstructural properties (grain diameter, bond diameter, neck length and intercept length) of the snow were then measured from the two-dimensional CT images. The presented methodology provides significant improvements over previous techniques, requiring less time and labor to obtain high-quality microstructural data.
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.