A Nuclear Emulsion Detector for the Muon Radiography of a Glacier Structure

Ariga, Akitaka; Ariga, Tomoko; Ereditato, Antonio; Käser, Samuel; Lechmann, Alessandro; Mair, David; Nishiyama, Ryuichi; Pistillo, Ciro; Scampoli, Paola; Schlunegger, Fritz; Vladymyrov, Mykhailo (2018). A Nuclear Emulsion Detector for the Muon Radiography of a Glacier Structure. Instruments, 2(2), p. 7. MDPI 10.3390/instruments2020007

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Cosmic ray muons can be used to image the interior of geological sites provided that one employs detectors able to operate in the specific harsh conditions of the mountain environment. We designed and developed a detector exploiting the nuclear emulsion technique to assess the bedrock profile underneath an alpine glacier. Nuclear emulsions do not need any electric power supply or maintenance and allow for the measurement of the muon flux and direction behind a large target volume. The 3D density distribution of the material traversed by muons can then be assessed, bringing relevant information on the shape of the boundary between the glacial ice and the underlying bedrock. This new methodology in the geological field was recently tested in a campaign of measurements in the Jungfrau region of the central Swiss Alps. It was shown that the bedrock surface position can be measured with a resolution of about 5 % when the traversed target is about 100 m thick. Characteristics and performance of the method are reported here and demonstrate that muon radiography based on emulsion detectors represents a powerful tool for the geological study of glaciers.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Laboratory for High Energy Physics (LHEP)
10 Strategic Research Centers > Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics (AEC)

UniBE Contributor:

Ariga, Akitaka, Ariga, Tomoko, Ereditato, Antonio, Käser, Samuel, Lechmann, Alessandro Diego, Mair, David, Nishiyama, Ryuichi, Pistillo, Ciro, Scampoli, Paola, Schlunegger, Fritz, Vladymyrov, Mykhailo


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
500 Science > 530 Physics








Fritz Schlunegger

Date Deposited:

14 May 2018 13:44

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:30

Publisher DOI:






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