Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic

Journal metrics

Journal metrics

  • IF value: 4.713 IF 4.713
  • IF 5-year value: 4.927 IF 5-year
    4.927
  • CiteScore value: 8.0 CiteScore
    8.0
  • SNIP value: 1.425 SNIP 1.425
  • IPP value: 4.65 IPP 4.65
  • SJR value: 2.353 SJR 2.353
  • Scimago H <br class='hide-on-tablet hide-on-mobile'>index value: 71 Scimago H
    index 71
  • h5-index value: 53 h5-index 53
Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-142
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-142
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 26 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 26 Jun 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Dating the ice of Gauligletscher, Switzerland, based on surface radionuclide contamination and ice flow modeling

Guillaume Jouvet1,2,a, Stefan Röllin3, Hans Sahli3, José Corcho3, Lars Gnägi4,5, Loris Compagno6,7, Dominik Sidler5,8, Margit Schwikowski4,9, Andreas Bauder6, and Martin Funk6 Guillaume Jouvet et al.
  • 1Autonomous Systems Laboratory, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3Spiez Laboratory, Federal Office for Civil Protection, Switzerland
  • 4Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 5NBC Defence Laboratory 1, Swiss Armed Forces
  • 6Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • 7Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Switzerland
  • 8Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Hamburg, Germany
  • 9Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland
  • aformerly at the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. In the 1950s and '60s, specific radionuclides were released into the atmosphere as a result of nuclear weapons testing. This radioactive fallout left its signature on the accumulated layers of glaciers worldwide, thus providing a tracer for ice particles traveling within the gravitational ice flow and being released into the ablation zone. For surface ice dating purposes, we analyze here the activity of 239Pu, 240Pu and 236U radionuclides derived from more than 200 ice samples collected along five flowlines at the surface of Gauligletscher, Switzerland. It was found that contaminations appear band-wise along most of the sampled lines, revealing a V-shaped profile consistent with the ice flow field already observed. Similarities to activities found in ice cores permit the isochronal lines at the glacier from 1960 and 1963 to be identified. Hence this information is used to fine-tune an ice flow/mass balance model, and to accurately map the age of the entire glacier ice. Our results indicate the strong potential for combining radionuclide contamination and ice flow modeling in two different ways. First, such tracers provide unique information on the long-term ice motion of the entire glacier (and not only at its surface), and on the long-term mass balance, and therefore offer an extremely valuable data tool for calibrating ice flows within a model. Second, the dating of surface ice is highly relevant when conducting "horizontal ice core sampling", i.e., when taking chronological samples of surface ice from the distant past, without having to perform expensive and logistically complex deep ice-core drilling. In conclusion, our results show that an airplane which crash-landed on the Gauligletscher in 1946 will likely soon be released from the ice close to the place where pieces have emerged in recent years, thus permitting the prognosis given in an earlier model to be revised considerably.

Guillaume Jouvet et al.

Interactive discussion

Status: open (until 21 Aug 2020)
Status: open (until 21 Aug 2020)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
[Subscribe to comment alert] Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Guillaume Jouvet et al.

Guillaume Jouvet et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 131 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
90 39 2 131 0 0
  • HTML: 90
  • PDF: 39
  • XML: 2
  • Total: 131
  • BibTeX: 0
  • EndNote: 0
Views and downloads (calculated since 26 Jun 2020)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 26 Jun 2020)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 50 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 50 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 

Cited

Saved

No saved metrics found.

Discussed

No discussed metrics found.
Latest update: 04 Jul 2020
Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
We show that Plutonium is an effective tracer to identify ice originating from the early 1960s at the surface of a mountain glacier after a long travel within the ice flow, giving unique information on the long-term former ice motion. Combined with ice flow modelling, the dating can be extended to the entire glacier and we show that an airplane which crash-landed on the Gauligletscher in 1946 will likely soon be released from the ice close to the place where pieces have emerged in recent years.
We show that Plutonium is an effective tracer to identify ice originating from the early 1960s...
Citation