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SPRI Review 2001: Glaciology Group

Glaciology Group

Professor E.M. Morris

In spring 2001 Professor Liz Morris travelled to the Devon Ice Cap with a prototype ice geophysical logging system put together with help from colleagues at the Institute of Hydrology, the British Geological Survey, and a small company in North Wales, Geovista. At the ice cap summit, there is a borehole to bedrock, produced when a team from the Geological Survey of Canada collected an ice core for climate research. The ice core had been analysed in the laboratory for oxygen isotopes, which vary with the season and allow annual snow layers to be detected. This is the established way of dating the core and establishing a record of past accumulation. The aim of the field project was to determine whether logging the borehole with a neutron scattering sonde would allow detection of annual variations in density, which could be used in the same way. As we hoped, we found that the annual variation in density mirrored the annual variation in isotope concentration in the core.