Sulfate spikes in the deep layers of EPICA-Dome C ice core: Evidence of glaciological artifacts

Traversi, Rita; Becagli, Silvia; Castellano, Emiliano; Marino, Federica; Rugi, Francesco; Severi, Mirko; de Angelis, Martine; Fischer, Hubertus; Hansson, Margareta; Stauffer, Bernhard; Steffensen, Jørgen P.; Bigler, Matthias; Udisti, Roberto (2009). Sulfate spikes in the deep layers of EPICA-Dome C ice core: Evidence of glaciological artifacts. Environmental science & technology, 43(23), pp. 8737-8743. Washington, D.C.: ACS Publications 10.1021/es901426y

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A detailed ionic component record was performed on EPICA Dome C ice core (East Antarctica) to a depth of 3190 m using Ion Chromatography and Fast Ion Chromatography (FIC). At depths greater than 2800 m, the sulfate profile shows intense, sharp spikes which are not expected due to the smoothing of sulfate peaks by diffusion processes. Moreover, these spikes show an “anomalous” chemical composition (e.g., unusually low acidity, high Mg2+ concentration and high Mg2+/Ca2+ ratio). These peaks and the surrounding layers also exhibit good Mg2+ vs SO42− and Cl− vs Na+ correlations through both glacial and interglacial periods. Furthermore, the high-resolution analysis of two horizontally contiguous ice sections showed that some fraction of the impurities are characterized by a heterogeneous distribution. Altogether, these results suggest the occurrence of long-term postdepositional processes involving a rearrangement of impurities via migration in the vein network, characterized by sulfuric acidity and leading to the formation of soluble particles of magnesium sulfate salts, along with ionic association of ions in the liquid films along boundaries. This evidence should be taken into consideration when inferring information on for rapid climatic and environmental changes from ice core chemical records at great depths. At Dome C, the depth threshold was found to be 2800 m.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Fischer, Hubertus, Stauffer, Bernhard, Bigler, Matthias


500 Science > 530 Physics




ACS Publications




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:23

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:25

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URI: (FactScience: 208788)

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