Density log of a 181 m long ice core from Berkner Island, Antarctica

A 181 m long ice core was drilled at 79°36′51″ S, 45°43′28″ W, near the summit of Berkner Island, Antarctica (886 m a.s.l.). Berkner Island is located between the Filchner and Ronne Ice Shelves, and the ice near the summit shows little lateral flow. The density of the ice core was measured every 3 mm along its length, using attenuation of a gamma-ray beam, which gave an absolute accuracy of 2%. As expected, there is a general density increase with depth, the maximum densities of > 900 kg m−3 being reached just above 100 m depth. Comparison with the electrical conductivity method (ECM) shows density variations with the same wavelength as the annual signals, which can be seen in the ECM log (higher acidity during summer). In the shallowest part of the core, the density of winter layers is higher than that of summer layers, a relationship which is reversed at greater depth. We assume that the densification rates for the two types of firn are different. Similar density phenomena were observed on ice cores from Greenland, showing that such phenomena are not a local effect.


Publication status:
Authors: Gerland, S., Oerter, H., Kipfstuhl, J., Wilhelms, F., Miller, H., Miners, W. D.

1 January, 1999
Annals of Glaciology / 29
Link to published article: