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Complete determination of ice crystal orientation using Laue X-ray diffraction method

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Ice crystal orientation fabric data from ice cores contain important information concerning the internal structure and the flow behaviour of ice sheets. When ice cores are recovered from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, crystal orientation measurements are performed immediately to obtain fundamental physical property information. In the past, we have measured the c-axis orientation of ice crystals by a manual optical method using a universal stage. This method is very time-consuming, involving tedious work in a cold laboratory. Recently, automated systems have been developed that enable measurement of c-axis orientation, grain size and other microstructures. However, in order to detect the full crystal orientation of an ice crystal, we also need information on its a-axis orientation. A variety of other crystal orientation measurement methods have previously been discussed, but some shortcomings for ice-core studies cannot be neglected. We have developed a crystal-orientation analysing device using the Laue X-ray diffraction method. As this device can measure the orientations of all crystal axes with high accuracy, it is possible to obtain new microstructure information on natural ice crystals. For the first time, we are able to quantify very low subgrain misorientation angles in polar icecore samples, allowing us to investigate micro-deformation features of individual crystals. Here we discuss the analysis process, which is customized to measure standard ice thin sections, and show preliminary results.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-03-01

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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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