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Core-scale radioscopic imaging: a new method reveals density–calcium link in Antarctic firn

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A new radioscopic imaging technique has been developed to measure firn density in unprecedented resolution and accuracy even when the porosity is low or the geometry of a core or piece of core is not perfect. The technique is based on an X-ray microfocus computer tomograph (ICE-CT) designed especially for ice-core applications. Applied on an archive piece of the Antarctic firn core B32 drilled in Dronning Maud Land in 1998, the obtained density profile shows a strong correlation with the calcium ion concentration as found previously in Greenland. Given the impurity–density relationship found previously in Greenland, our result suggests both improved accuracy of the new density measurements and an impurity–density relationship with a similar magnitude in Greenland to that on the Antarctic plateau. Our measurements provide first evidence that the impurity–density relationship is a universal feature of polar firn and that the calcium ion concentration can serve as a proxy to describe quantitatively the effect of the impurities on densification.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2013

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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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