An X-ray transmission method has been developed to obtain a continuous profile of bulk densities of ice cores. Intensities of X-rays transmitted through an ice-core sample were continuously measured by an X-ray detector during translation of the sample across the X-ray beam. A thick section of an ice core with a constant thickness was prepared by band-sawing followed by microtome planing. The X-ray intensity profile obtained was converted to a density profile using a calibration curve for X-ray absorption vs ice thickness. Using this method, spatial resolution of the density profile was down to 1 mm. X-ray radiographs were also taken on a two-dimensional detector imaging plate, in order to observe layer structures of the ice cores.
The method was applied to Dome Fuji (Antarctica) ice cores from the surface to 110 m depth. From the density profile obtained we calculated the power spectrum of the density variation by the discrete Fourier transform, and obtained several peaks at different frequencies. The center period in the spectrum was close to the annual accumulation thickness at the drill site.