Analysis of an ice sample with an estimated age of 125 years, from the Antarctic Peninsula, using a scanning electron microscope with a cold stage and an X-ray micro-analysis facility, shows that H2SO4 occurs mainly at triple junctions. Sea salts show no such localization. The different behaviour may be due to the freezing-point behaviour of each chemical substance, and to the effect this has both in the atmosphere and during recrystallization in the ice sheet. If this finding applies generally to other parts of the Antarctic ice sheet, it has major implications for many of the physical properties of Antarctic ice. In particular, it leads to a better understanding of the d.c. electrical conductivity of such ice.
Authors: Wolff, Eric W., Mulvaney, Robert, Oates, K.