The accumulation and distribution of the 2H content of near-surface layers in the eastern part of the Ronne Ice Shelf were determined from 16 firn cores drilled to about 10 m depth during the Filchner IIIa and IV campaigns in 1990 and 1992, respectively. The cores were dated stratigraphically by seasonal δ2H variations in the firn. In addition, 3H and high-resolution chemical profiles were used to assist in dating. Both the accumulation rate and the stable-isotope content decrease with increasing distance from the ice edge: the δ2H values range from about 195‰ at the ice edge to -25‰ at BAS sites 5 and 6, south of Henry Ice Rise, and the accumulation rates from about 210 to 90 kgm-2 a-1. The δ2H values of the near-surface firn and the 10 m firn temperatures (Θ) at individual sites are very well correlated: dδ2H/dΘ = (10.3 ± 0.6)‰K-1; r = 0.97.
The δ2H profiles of the two ice cores BI3 and BI5 drilled in 1990 and 1992 to 215 and 320 m depth, respectively, reflect the gradual depletion in 2H in the firn upstream of the drill sites. Comparison with the surface data indicates that the ice above 142 m in core BIS and above 137 m in core BI3 was deposited on the ice shelf, whereas the deeper ice, down to 152.8 m depth, most probably originated from the margin of the Antarctic ice sheet.