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Internal radio-echo layering at Vostok station, Antarctica, as an independent stratigraphie control on the ice-core record

  • Martin J. Siegert (a1), Richard Hodgkinst (a2) and Julian A. Dowdeswell (a3)

Abstract

Antarctic radio-echo sounding (RES) data at 60 MHz have been used to determine an independent stratigraphy for the ice core at Vostok station, based on internal radio-echo layering. A-scope RES data allow the amplitude of reflected electromagnetic (e/m) waves to be measured and, by accounting fur geometric spreading and absorption losses of the e/m wave, power reflection coefficients (PRCs) to be calculated. This information is compared with time-continuous Z-scope RES data in order to trace continuous e/m reflectors across the ice sheet. Internal ice-sheet horizons deeper than 800 m are caused by layers of ice that possess distinctly different dielectric properties (i.e. acidic layers) compared with ice above and/or below. Comparison of four PRC samples, located ~ 5 km from Vostok station, revealed five distinct internal reflections between 1000 and 2200 m. Z-scope data from directly over the Vostok station site show the same five prominent internal radio-echo layers. The depth-related radio-echo signals were then compared with chemical records from the Vostok ice core, including the H2SO4 signal, a major component of which is derived from volcanic events. From this procedure, internal radio-echo reflectors and Vostok ice-core acid measurements were correlated. Avery good match was made between Z-scope and ice-core data. However, vertical offsets observed between A-scope-derived RES layers and peaks in the chemical signal of up to 100 m are probably due to the general Inkling of the ice-sheet layering between the core site and the RES flight-line. We conclude that 60 MHz RES layering may be regarded as a stratigraphy independent of palaeoclimate, and may be used to correlate other deep Southern Hemisphere ice cores.

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References

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