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Original Research Papers

Alpine ice cores and ground penetrating radar: combined investigations for glaciological and climatic interpretations of a cold Alpine ice body

Authors:

Olaf Eisen ,

Alfred- Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung Bremerhaven, DE
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Uwe Nixdorf,

Alfred- Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung Bremerhaven, DE
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Lothar Keck,

Institut für Umweltphysik, Universität Heidelberg, DE
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Dietmar Wagenbach

Institut für Umweltphysik, Universität Heidelberg, DE
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Abstract

Accurate interpretation of ice cores as climate archives requires detailed knowledge of their past and present geophysical environment. Different techniques facilitate the determination and reconstruction of glaciological settings surrounding the drilling location. During the ALPCLIM1 project, two ice cores containing long-term climate information were retrieved from Colle Gnifetti, Swiss-Italian Alps. Here, we investigate the potential of ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys, in conjuction with ice core data, to obtain information about the internal structure of the cold Alpine ice body to improve climatic interpretations. Three drill sites are connected by GPR profiles, running parallel and perpendicular to the flow line, thus yielding a three-dimensional picture of the subsurface and enabling the tracking of internal reflection horizons between the locations. As the observed reflections are of isochronic origin, they permit the transfer of age—depth relations between the ice cores. The accuracy of the GPR results is estimated by comparison of transferred timescales with original core datings, independent information from an older ice core, and, based on glaciological surface data, findings from flow modeling. Our study demonstrates that GPR is a mandatory tool for Alpine ice core studies, as it permits mapping of major transitions in physical-chemical properties, transfer of age—depth relations between sites, correlate signals in core records for interpretation, and establish a detailed picture of the flow regime surrounding the climate archive.

How to Cite: Eisen, O., Nixdorf, U., Keck, L. and Wagenbach, D., 2003. Alpine ice cores and ground penetrating radar: combined investigations for glaciological and climatic interpretations of a cold Alpine ice body. Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 55(5), pp.1007–1017. DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/tellusb.v55i5.16394
  Published on 01 Jan 2003
 Accepted on 22 Apr 2003            Submitted on 13 Nov 2002

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