Dating ice core samples

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Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Dating ice core samples more. Because of the specific flow behavior of ice, their age-depth relationship is nonlinear, preventing the application of common dating methods such as annual layer counting in the deepest and oldest part. This new, complementary dating tool has great potential for numerous ice core related paleoclimate studies since it allows improvement and extension of existing and future chronologies.

Ice cores recovered from high-altitude glaciers in midlatitude, subtropical, and tropical regions do not reach as far back in time. The vicinity of these glaciers to anthropogenic emission sources has the additional potential to improve our understanding of natural and human induced forcing of the climate system, since it enables the study of substances with short atmospheric lifetimes of a few days, having nonuniform global distribution and highest concentrations closest to the sources e.

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In any case, a precise chronology is a prime requirement for each natural archive to allow for a meaningful interpretation of the information recorded. The most common method used for ice core dating is annual layer counting, which relies on seasonally varying als and is supported by the identification of reference horizons such as volcanic layers [ Thompson et al. For ice cores from high-altitude glaciers, strong ice flow induced layer thinning limits counting of annual layers in the best case to a couple of centuries and is not suitable for the oldest and deepest part, where individual years cannot be distinguished anymore.

Because of complex bedrock geometry of such glaciers, indirect dating using physical ice flow models can also not be applied for the entire length of the core. The lack of an appropriate Dating ice core samples tool for this lowermost section can be overcome in certain cases by wiggle matching of the stable isotope records i. Accordingly, Dating ice core samples this way dated ice core records will be strongly tied to the chronology of the polar ice cores.

As a consequence however, this hinders the determination of the actual timing of events during the transition period for the site where the core was retrieved. Since the recognition of spatial shifts in timing for nonpolar regions is of high interest [e. One should also keep in mind that not climate but artifacts such as diffusion processes can alter the al of the stable isotopes of water close to the bedrock in the case of glaciers with a very high thinning [ Keck].

Under such circumstances, dating by wiggle matching is hindered. In contrast to such randomly occurring biogenic debris, carbonaceous particles, a major component of the atmospheric aerosol, are constantly removed from the atmosphere by precipitation and form integral part of the impurities Dating ice core samples in glacier ice [e. They are composed of organic carbon OC and elemental carbon ECwhich can be separated because of their specific thermal properties [ Szidat et al.

Accordingly, our new approach was to extract the water-insoluble organic carbon fraction of the carbonaceous particles and use it for radiocarbon dating. Since this approach is not depending on the random finding of carbon debris e. New limits could be reached in the course of several studies related to the extraction of particles from the ice [ Lavanchy et al.

The Colle Gnifetti is the highest glacier saddle in the Alps suitable for ice core studies Figure 1. At this site great potential exists to find old ice because the cold glacier is frozen to the bedrock and the net annual snow accumulation rates are low because of preferential wind erosion of dry winter snow [ Schwikowski].

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To use as little of the archive as feasible to establish the chronology, we tried to keep sample amounts the lowest possible at all times. Length and masses of these nine individual samples thus varied between 0. From each sample, the water-insoluble organic carbon fraction was extracted by filtration and the organic residue varying between 7.

See Table 1 for more details to the individual samples. Jenk et al. The evolved CO 2 was cryogenically trapped and Dating ice core samples volume determined manometrically. To assure the quality of the measurements and to monitor the performance of the AMS system, measurements of blanks and standards were performed during each AMS campaign. Performance tests for both AMS systems were run using different reference materials. Reproducible values in good agreement with the consensus values could be achieved for both systems, i. Blank measurements for the overall procedure of the method were continuously performed using artificial ice.

This overall system blank was reproducible throughout the time period of analysis with a mean carbon mass of 1.

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This is consistent with the ly reported blank value of 1. Four ice samples a day could be processed, involving simultaneous measurement of OC and EC and preparation of both fractions for subsequent AMS analysis no EC shown here.

One day was needed to produce all the standards and blanks required for AMS calibration and quality control of the overall procedure. Final AMS measurements took approximately 20 min per target. Taking advantage of the stratigraphic information contained in the ice core which allows assuming a sequence of samples to be in chronological order because of the underlying deposition process, the software implemented Markov chain Monte Carlo method MCMC could be applied [ Bronk Ramsey]. With this method the constraint probability distributions for a group of items in a sequence were calculated using the well-defined calendar age of the Laki eruption as the youngest date in the sequence see Figure 2.

For the lowermost sample core section Ages in Table 2 and Figure 3 are presented as years before A. Ages of — years cal B. However, the latter value has high uncertainty caused by a poor technical performance of the 14 C measurement see Table 1. Even though it is in agreement with the age prediction from the thinning model see next paragraphwe consider it to be indicative only for the existence of late Pleistocene ice in the European Alps. This is due to a flattening of the radiocarbon calibration curve in this time period, leading to multiple solutions of possible ages.

Nevertheless, Dating ice core samples modern pMC values measured for the two youngest samples indicate that Dating ice core samples possibility of a ificant systematic shift to older ages can be excluded. Therefore, they do represent an averaged age. An inhomogeneous distribution of carbonaceous particles within the analyzed core sections could potentially influence the modeled final dating discussed below.

However, since the precision of the method is supposed to increase in the future, the shortest possible i. The corresponding are summarized in Table 2 and the obtained continuous depth-age relationship is displayed in Figure 3. The model derived age for the bottom ice supports the independently since it was excluded from model calculations derived 14 C cal age for this section core sectionadding evidence for the presence of Pleistocene ice. The reference horizons used were the maximum in the tritium activity peak in the year A.

Multiple Dating ice core samples analysis with a least squares approach, i. Different from real conditions, the applied model assumes constant accumulation. The obtained value of 0. The good fit between the upper part of the core where dating relies on well established methods and the lower part where calibrated radiocarbon ages are increasing continuously with depth as one would expect also adds confidence in the new dating tool. An important strength of the described new radiocarbon dating method is the possibility to detect outliers caused by problems during sample preparation or analysis.

The access to multiple samples additionally allows detection of outliers in the measured sequence stratigraphic outliersremoving the dependency on a result from singular analysis as it is encountered by the random finding of only one piece of organic material. This feature has strong resemblance to the sections in the Greenland ice core records representing the abrupt climate shifts that terminated the last glacial see Figure 4b.

The very distinct al of the transition from the Younger Dryas into the Holocene for example could be dated with high accuracy to an age of 11, years B. In any case, even though our dating is in line withi. Concentrations of carbonaceous Dating ice core samples are approximately ten times lower in Greenland than in ice from high-elevation glaciers which demands preparation of larger ice samples. Such samples generally have a surface to mass ratio which is less favorable in terms of contamination risk due to the limited availability of pieces with a large cross-section size.

The carbon containing liquid which is used to stabilize the borehole in the deep drilling in combination with microcracks and long storage time makes analysis of such samples ificantly more difficult compared to the samples from Colle Gnifetti. One sample could be analyzed and resulted in a value somewhat underestimating the independently defined age GRIP, depth: However, because of the above reasons this single result cannot be considered to validate the method.

Since the properties of Greenland samples present a specific challenge not related to the samples we are aiming for, no further efforts have been made. Instead, we also applied the new dating technique to an ice core from Dating ice core samples Illimani Bolivian Andes, At this site, two parallel ice cores A: For core A, Ramirez et al. The dating of core A and B each based on a different method as described before wiggle matching and radiocarbon dating, respectively agrees reasonably well. Over the time period from 10 to 13 ka B.

Our observation of ice likely more than 10 ka old at the Colle Gnifetti indicates that at higher-altitude permanent ice coverage was preserved throughout the Holocene. For glaciers frozen to bedrock with a complex topography, one might expect a shear zone between the basal ice and the active layer on top, resulting in a hiatus in the age-depth relation.

The finding of a continuous increase of age with depth even in the deepest part is remarkable. Our imply, that a first Alpine climate record from an European glacier archive covering the entire Holocene is accessible, allowing for a comparison of the Climatic Optimum warm period with today's climate and atmospheric conditions. It represents an additional, independent and new dating tool with great potential for applications in ice core studies, due to its ability of improving and extending new and already existing chronologies.

Using ice of known age Nevado Illimanithe dating accuracy of the method could be confirmed in a first validation attempt. However, further efforts to improve the validation are still needed. This is also due to the fact that there is potential to reach higher precision smaller uncertainties in future studies. As a result of future applications of the method to a of ice cores and ice samples from different sites some of them preferentially dated independently and the ongoing development in AMS technology these goals can certainly be achieved.

A very important step forward was made in the recent past when AMS analysis of gaseous CO 2 for radiocarbon dating was made possible [e. Already, this could be applied for some of the samples presented in this study. Such measurements benefit from a reduced Dating ice core samples preparation time due to fewer preparation steps required, what as a consequence decreases the of potential contamination sources.

Higher analytical precision and a smaller amount of carbon carbonaceous particles needed also allows the use of smaller, i. Please note: The publisher is not responsible for the content or Dating ice core samples of any supporting information supplied by the authors.

Any queries other than missing content should be directed to the corresponding author for the article. VolumeIssue D Please check your for instructions on resetting your password. If the address matches an existing you will receive an with instructions to retrieve your username.

Open access. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Composition and Chemistry Free Access. Theo M. Jenktjenk gfy. Search for more papers by this author. First published: 24 July Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Share Give access Share full text access. Share full-text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Shareable Link Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Abstract [1] Ice cores retrieved from high-altitude glaciers are important archives of past climatic and atmospheric conditions in midlatitude and tropical regions.

Figure 1 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Photo by K. Years cal B. Figure 2 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint.

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See Table 1 for data. Filled areas show the calculated constraint probability distributions of the calibrated ages using Bayesian statistics, i. The overall agreement index of the calibration using this approach is Agreement indices corresponding to the individual core sections are given in parentheses.

For comparison, thin lines show the derived from applying the basic standard calibration procedure i. Adapted from OxCal v3.

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Figure 3 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Two-parameter model [ Thompson et al. The model is based on distinct horizons from Saharan dust events as well as volcanic layers, the tritium al from nuclear weapon tests indicated with calendar dates, A. Depth m Depth m weq Horizon Year A. of Years Contained SD denotes Saharan dust events, 3 H denotes the Tritium peak, and volcanic eruptions are indicated by their names.

The model-derived s of years contained in each core section are given in addition. Find a graphic display of the data in Figure 3. The model Dating ice core samples be expressed by the following equation:. Figure 4 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. The dashed frame indicates the section enlarged in Figure 4b. Note the discrepancy in the age scales between the two records.

Dating ice core samples

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A novel radiocarbon dating technique applied to an ice core from the Alps indicating late Pleistocene ages