Using noble gas ratios to determine the origin of ground ice (English)

In: Quaternary Research   ;  85 ,  1  ;  177-184  ;  2015
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Abstract Argon, krypton and xenon have different solubilities in water, meaning their ratios in water are different from those in atmospheric air. This characteristic is used in a novel method to distinguish between ice bodies which originate from the compaction of snow (i.e. buried snow banks, glacial ice) vs. ice which forms from the freezing of groundwater (i.e. pingo ice). Ice which forms from the compaction of snow has gas ratios similar to atmospheric air, while ice which forms from the freezing of liquid water is expected to have gas ratios similar to air-equilibrated water. This analysis has been conducted using a spike dilution noble gas line with gas extraction conducted on-line. Samples were mixed with an aliquot of rare noble gases while being melted, then extracted gases are purified and cryogenically separated. Samples have been analysed from glacial ice, buried snow bank ice, intrusive ice, wedge ice, cave ice and two unknown ice bodies. Ice bodies which have formed from different processes have different gas ratios relative to their formation processes.

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