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Formation of air clathrate hydrates in polar ice sheets: heterogeneous nucleation induced by micro-inclusions

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To investigate factors influencing nucleation of air clathrate hydrates in polar ice sheets, we have performed high-resolution mapping of the distributions of soluble impurities, air bubbles and air-hydrate crystals versus depth in the Dome Fuji Antarctic ice. Significant correlation observed between the concentrations of air inclusions and impurities in ice along with frequent occurrence of impurities inside hydrate crystals suggest that micro-inclusions promote hydrate nucleation in the ice matrix. Our observations also show that the diffusive macroscopic-scale redistribution of air constituents in ice in the bubble–hydrate transition zone is controlled by the original sedimentary layering of soluble impurities acting as nucleation helpers. The results of this study are important for the correct interpretation of high-resolution gas analyses of ice cores and for better understanding the global bubble-to-hydrate transformation process in polar ice sheets.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-12-01

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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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