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Instruments and Methods Density measurements in ice boreholes using neutron scattering

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This paper describes the use of a neutron probe to measure detailed stratigraphy in ice and snow. The Wallingford neutron probe, developed for measurement of soil moisture, consists of an annular radioactive source of fast neutrons around the centre of a cylindrical detector for slow (thermal) neutrons. In snow and ice, the fast neutrons lose energy by scattering from hydrogen atoms, and the number of slow neutrons arriving at the detector (the count rate) is related to the density of the medium. Calibration equations for count rate as a function of snow density and borehole diameter have been derived. Snow-density profiles from boreholes obtained using the probe show that, despite the smoothing produced by the neutron-scattering process, annual variations in density can be resolved. The potential contribution of the neutron probe to improvements in mass-balance monitoring is discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-12-01

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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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