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Dating of Greenland Ice Cores by Flow Models, Isotopes, Volcanic Debris, and Continental Dust

  • C.U. Hammer (a1), H. B. Clausen (a1), W. Dansgaard (a1), N. Gundestrup (a1), S. J. Johnsen (a1) and N. Reeh (a1)...

Abstract

The available methods for dating of ice cores are based on radioactive decay, ice-flow calculations, or stratigraphic observations. The two former categories are broadly outlined, and special emphasis is given to stratigraphic methods. Reference horizons are established back to A.D. 1783, in the form of elevated electrical conductivities due to fallout of soluble volcanic debris. Seasonal variations in the concentrations of insoluble microparticles and/or stable isotopes are measured over the entire 400 m lengths of three ice cores, recovered by Greenland Ice Sheet Program (GISP). The resulting absolute time scales are probably accurate within a few years per thousand. Techniques are outlined for re-establishing the approximate, original shape of heavy-isotope profiles that have been more or less smoothed by diffusion in firn and ice. Annual-layer thickness measurements on 24 increments down to 1130 m depth in the Camp Century ice core determine a flow pattern, consistent with that suggested by Dansgaard and Johnsen (1969), and a Camp Century time scale with an estimated uncertainty better than 3% back to 10000 years B.P.

Résumé

Les méthodes disponibles pour dater des carottes de glace sont basées sur l'atténuation de la radio-activité, sur le calcul de l'écoulement de la glace ou sur des observations stratigraphiques. Les deux premières catégories sont décrites à grands traits et une attention particulière est portée aux méthodes stratigraphiques. Des horizons de référence sont établis jusqu'en 1783 de notre ère, sous la forme d'une élévation de la conductibilité électrique à la suite des retombées de cendres volcaniques solubles. Les variations saisonnières de concentration en micro-particles et/ou en isotopes stables sont mesurées sur la totalité des 400 m de longueur de trois carottes de glace rapportées par l'équipe du Greenland Ice Sheet Program (GISP). Les échelles de temps absolu qui en résultent sont probablement précises jusqu'à quelques années pour mille. On décrit les techniques utilisées pour rétablir la forme originale approximative des profils d'isotopes lourds qui ont été plus ou moins lissés par la diffusion dans le névé et la glace. Les mesures d'épaisseur de la couche annuelle sur 24 séquences allant jusqu'à 1130 m d'épaisseur dans les carottes de glace de Camp Century déterminent un comportement de l'écoulement cohérent avec celui suggéré par Dansgaard et Johnsen (1969) et une échelle de temps à Camp Century avec une incertitude estimée meilleure que 3% jusqu'à 10 000 ans avant le présent.

Zusammenfassung

Die derzeit verfügbaren Methoden zur Datierung von Eis-Bohrkernen beruhen auf dem radioaktiven Zerfall, der Berechnung des Eisflusses oder stratigraphischen Beobachtungen. Die beiden ersten Verfahren werden im Umrissen geschildert; das Hauptgewicht liegt jedoch auf den stratigraphischen Methoden. Bezugshorizonte lassen sich bis zum Jahr 1783 ermitteln; sie besitzen erhöhte elektrische Leitfähigkeit infolge des Niederschlags löslicher vulkanischer Ablagerungen. Jahreszeitliche Schwaukuugen der Konzentration unlöslicher Mikropartikel und/oder stabiler Isotope werden über die ganze Länge dreier Bohrkerne von 400 m gemessen, die im Rahmen des Greenland Ice Sheet Programs (GISP) gewonnen wurden. Die daraus abgeleiteten absoluten Zeitskalen sind vermutlich auf wenige Jahre pro Jahrtausend genau. Die Technik der Wiederherstellung des angenäherten. ursprünglichen Profiles schwerer Isotopen, das durch Diffusion in Firn und Eis mehr oder weniger geglättet ist, wird beschrieben. Messungen der Dicke von Jahresschichten an 24 aufeinander folgenden Abschnitten bis 1130 m Tiefe im Bohrkern von Camp Century ergeben ein Fliessmuster, das mit dem von Dansgaard und Johnsen (1969) vorgeschlagenen übereinstimmt, und eine Zeitskala für Camp Century, die eine Genauigkeit von schätzungs-weise besser als 3% bis 10 000 Jahre vor der Gegenwart besitzt.

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References

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Dating of Greenland Ice Cores by Flow Models, Isotopes, Volcanic Debris, and Continental Dust

  • C.U. Hammer (a1), H. B. Clausen (a1), W. Dansgaard (a1), N. Gundestrup (a1), S. J. Johnsen (a1) and N. Reeh (a1)...

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