Skip to main content Accessibility help

Densification of layered firn in the ice sheet at Dome Fuji, Antarctica



In order to better understand the densification of polar firn, firn cores from the three sites within ~10 km of Dome Fuji, Antarctica, were investigated using surrogates of density: dielectric permittivities ε v and ε h at microwave frequencies with electrical fields in the vertical and horizontal planes respectively. Dielectric anisotropy Δε (=ε vε h) was then examined as a surrogate of the anisotropic geometry of firn. We find that layered densification is explained as a result of complex effects of two phenomena that commonly occur at the three sites. Basically, layers with initially smaller density and smaller geometrical anisotropy deform preferentially throughout the densification process due to textural effects. Second, layers having a higher concentration of Cl ions deform preferentially during a limited period from the near surface depths until smoothing out of layered Cl ions by diffusion. We hypothesize that Cl ions dissociated from sea salts soften firn due to modulation of dislocation movement. Moreover, firn differs markedly across the three sites in terms of strength of geometrical anisotropy, mean rate of densification and density fluctuation. We hypothesize that these differences are caused by textural effects resulting from differences in depositional conditions within various spatial scales.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Densification of layered firn in the ice sheet at Dome Fuji, Antarctica
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Densification of layered firn in the ice sheet at Dome Fuji, Antarctica
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Densification of layered firn in the ice sheet at Dome Fuji, Antarctica
      Available formats


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence: S. Fujita <>


Hide All
Alley, RB (1988) Concerning the deposition and diagenesis of strata in polar firn. J. Glaciol., 34(118), 283290
Anderson, DL and Benson, CS (1963) The densification and diagenesis of snow. In Kingery, WD ed. Ice and snow: properties, processes, and applications. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 391411
Bader, H (1939) Mineralogische und strukturelle Charakterisierung des Schnees und seiner Metamorphose. In Bader, H and 6 others eds Der Schnee und seine Metamorphose (Beiträge zur Geologie der Schweiz, Geotechnische Serie Hydrologie 3), 161 [Transl. Tienhaven JCV (1954), Snow and its metamorphism, SIPRE Transl. 14, 1–55]
Bamber, JL, Gomez-Dans, JL and Griggs, JA (2009) Antarctic 1 km Digital Elevation Model (DEM) from Combined ERS-1 Radar and ICES at Laser Satellite Altimetry. National Snow and Ice Data Center, Digital media, Boulder, Colorado, USA
Barnes, PRF and 5 others (2003) Evolution of chemical peak shapes in the Dome C, Antarctica, ice core. J. Geophys. Res., 108(D3), 4126
Bazin, L and 21 others (2012) An optimized multi-proxy, multi-site Antarctic ice and gas orbital chronology (AICC2012): 120–800 ka. Clim. Past, 9(4), 17151731 (doi: 10.5194/cp-9-1715-2013)
Bender, ML (2002) Orbital tuning chronology for the Vostok climate record supported by trapped gas composition. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 204(1–2), 275289 (doi: 10.1016/S0012-821X(02)00980-9)
Benson, CS (1962) Stratigraphic studies in the snow and firn of the Greenland ice sheet. SIPRE Res. Rep., 70, 7683
Colbeck, SC (1989) Snow-crystal growth with varying surface temperatures and radiation penetration. J. Glaciol., 35(119), 2329 (doi: 10.3189/002214389793701536)
Craven, M and Allison, I (1998) Firnification and the effects of windpacking on Antarctic snow. Ann. Glaciol., 27, 239245
Cuffey, KM and Paterson, WSB (2010) The physics of glaciers, 4th edn. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford
Dang, H, Genthon, C and Martin, E (1997) Numerical modeling of snow cover over polar ice sheets. Ann. Glaciol., 25, 170176
Evans, S (1965) Dielectric properties of ice and snow-a review. J. Glaciol., 5(42), 773792
Freitag, J, Wilhelms, F and Kipfstuhl, S (2004) Microstructure dependent densification of polar firn derived from X-ray microtomography. J. Glaciol., 50(169), 243250 (doi: 10.3189/172756504781830123)
Freitag, J, Kipfstuhl, S and Laepple, T (2013) Core-scale radioscopic imaging: a new method reveals density–calcium link in Antarctic firn. J. Glaciol., 59(218), 10091014 (doi: 10.3189/2013JoG13J028)
Fujita, S, Enomoto, H, Kameda, T, Motoyama, H and Sugiyama, S (2008) Changes of surface snow density in a summer in the Antarctic Dome Fuji region. SCAR/IASC IPY Open Science Conference, July 8th-11th 2008, St. Petersburg, Russia, Abstract Volume, 273274
Fujita, S, Okuyama, J, Hori, A and Hondoh, T (2009) Metamorphism of stratified firn at Dome Fuji, Antarctica: a mechanism for local insolation modulation of gas transport conditions during bubble close off. J. Geophys. Res., 114(F3), F03023 (doi: 10.1029/2008JF001143)
Fujita, S and 25 others (2011) Spatial and temporal variability of snow accumulation rate on the East Antarctic ice divide between Dome Fuji and EPICA DML. Cryosphere, 5, 10571081 (doi: 10.5194/tc-5-1057-2011)
Fujita, S and 7 others (2012) Radar diagnosis of the subglacial conditions in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. Cryosphere, 6(5), 12031219 (doi: 10.5194/tc-6-1203-2012)
Fujita, S and 6 others (2014) Densification of layered firn of the ice sheet at NEEM, Greenland. J. Glaciol., 60(223), 905921 (doi: 10.3189/2014JoG14J006)
Gerland, S and 5 others (1999) Density log of a 181 m long ice core from Berkner Island, Antarctica. Ann. Glaciol., 29, 215219 (doi: 10.3189/172756499781821427)
Gow, AJ (1968) Deep core studies of the accumulation and densification of snow at Byrd Station and Little America V, Antarctica. CRREL Res. Rep., 197
Gow, AJ (1975) Time–temperature dependence of sintering in perennial isothermal snowpacks. IAHS Publ. 114 (Symposium at Grindelwald 1974 – Snow Mechanics), 2541
Hondoh, T (2000) Firn densification, close-off and air bubbles. In Hondoh, T ed. Physics of ice core records. Hokkaido University Press, Sapporo, 283359
Hörhold, MW, Kipfstuhl, S, Wilhelms, F, Freitag, J and Frenzel, A (2011) The densification of layered polar firn. J. Geophys. Res., 116(F1), F01001 (doi: 10.1029/2009JF001630)
Hörhold, MW and 5 others (2012) On the impact of impurities on the densification of polar firn. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 325–326, 9399 (doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.12.022)
Hori, A and 11 others (1999) A detailed density profile of the Dome Fuji (Antarctica) shallow ice core by X-ray transmission method. Ann. Glaciol., 29, 211214 (doi: 10.3189/172756499781821157)
Hoshina, Y and 8 others (2014) Effect of accumulation rate on water stable isotopes of near-surface snow in inland Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res. –Atmos., 119(1), 274283 (doi: 10.1002/2013jd020771)
Hutterli, MA, Schneebeli, M, Freitag, J, Kipfstuhl, J and Röthlisberger, R (2009) Impact of local insolation on snow metamorphism and ice core records. Low Temp. Sci., Ser. A, Data Rep., 68, 223232
Igarashi, M, Kanamori, N and Watanabe, O (1998) Analytical method for small amount of polar snow and ice samples by ion chromatography (in Japanese with English abstract). Antarct. Rec., 42(1), 6480
Igarashi, M and 5 others (2011) Dating of the Dome Fuji shallow ice core based on a record of volcanic eruptions from AD 1260 to AD 2001. Polar Sci., 5(4), 411420 (doi: 10.1016/j.polar.2011.08.001)
Iizuka, Y and 6 others (2004a) SO4 2− minimum in summer snow layer at Dome Fuji, Antarctica, and the probable mechanism. J. Geophys. Res., 109, D04307 (doi: 10.1029/2003JD004138)
Iizuka, Y, Takata, M, Hondoh, T and Fujii, Y (2004b) High-time-resolution profiles of soluble ions in the last glacial period of a Dome Fuji (Antarctica) deep ice core. Ann. Glaciol., 39, 452456 (doi: 10.3189/172756404781814302)
Iizuka, Y, Hondoh, T and Fujii, Y (2006) Na2SO4 and MgSO4 salts during the Holocene period derived by high-resolution depth analysis of a Dome Fuji ice core. J. Glaciol., 52(176), 5864 (doi: 10.3189/172756506781828926)
Iizuka, Y and 9 others (2012) The rates of sea salt sulfatization in the atmosphere and surface snow of inland Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 117, D04308 (doi: 10.1029/2011jd016378)
Johnsen, SJ and 5 others (2000) Diffusion of stable isotopes in polar firn and ice: the isotope effect in firn diffusion. In Hondoh, T. ed. Physics of Ice Core Records. Hokkaido University Press, Sapporo, 121140
Jones, RG (1976) Precise dielectric measurements at 35 GHz using an open microwave resonator. Proc. IEEE, 123(4), 285290 (doi: 10.1049/piee.1976.0067)
Jones, SJ (1967) Softening of ice crystals by dissolved fluoride ions. Phys. Lett. A, 25(5), 366367 (doi: 10.1016/0375–9601(67)90702–5)
Jones, SJ and Glen, JW (1969) The effect of dissolved impurities on the mechanical properties of ice crystals. Philos. Mag., 19(157), 1324 (doi: 10.1080/14786436908217758)
Kameda, T, and 9 others (1997) Meteorological observations along a traverse route from coast to Dome Fuji Station, Antarctica, recorded by automatic weather station in 1995. Proc. NIPR Symp. Polar Meteorol. Glaciol., 11, 3550
Kameda, T, Motoyama, H, Fujita, S and Takahashi, S (2008) Temporal and spatial variability of surface mass balance at Dome Fuji, East Antarctica, by the stake method from 1995 to 2006. J. Glaciol., 54(184), 107116 (doi: 10.3189/002214308784409062)
Kawamura, K and 5 others (2004) Close resemblance between local summer insolation, O2/N2 and total air content from the Dome Fuji Ice Core, Antarctica. Eos, 85, Fall Meet. Suppl. [Abstr. C33C-0356]
Kawamura, K and 17 others (2007) Northern hemisphere forcing of climatic cycles in Antarctica over the past 360,000 years. Nature, 448(7156), 912916 (doi: 10.1038/nature06015)
Kipfstuhl, S and 8 others (2009) Evidence of dynamic recrystallization in polar firn. J. Geophys. Res., 114(B5), B05204 (doi: 10.1029/2008JB005583)
Koerner, RM (1971) A stratigraphic method of determining the snow accumulation rate at Plateau Station, Antarctica, and application to South Pole-Queen Maud Land Traverse 2, 1965–1966. In Crary, AP, ed. Antarctic ice studies II, American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, 225238
Komiyama, B (1991) Open resonator for precision dielectric measurements in the 100 GHz band. IEEE Trans. Microw. Theory Tech., 39(10), 17921796 (doi: 10.1109/22.88556)
Landais, A and 11 others (2012) Towards orbital dating of the EPICA Dome C ice core using δO2/N2 . Clim. Past, 8(1), 191203 (doi: 10.5194/cp-8-191-2012)
Livingston, FE and George, SM (2002) Effect of sodium on HCl hydrate diffusion in ice: evidence for anion-cation trapping. J. Phys. Chem. A, 106(20), 51145119 (doi: 10.1021/jp0145309)
Lomonaco, R, Albert, MR and Baker, I (2011) Microstructural evolution of fine-grained layers through the firn column at Summit, Greenland. J. Glaciol., 57(204), 755762 (doi: 10.3189/002214311797409730)
Lytle, VI and Jezek, KC (1994) Dielectric permittivity and scattering measurements of Greenland firn at 26.5–40 GHz. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., 32(2), 290295 (doi: 10.1109/36.295044)
Maeno, N and Ebinuma, T (1983) Pressure sintering of ice and its implication to the densification of snow at polar glaciers and ice sheets. J. Phys. Chem., 87(21), 41034110 (doi: 10.1021/j100244a023)
Matsuoka, T, Fujita, S, Morishima, S and Mae, S (1997) Precise measurement of dielectric anisotropy in ice Ih at 39 GHz. J. Appl. Phys., 81(5), 23442348 (doi: 10.1063/1.364238)
Miyashita, H (2008) The new high precision gamma-ray density meter PH-1000: certificated by MEXT. Jpn. Tappi J., 62(3), 309312
Nakamura, T and Jones, SJ (1970) Softening effect of dissolved hydrogen chloride in ice crystals. Scripta Metall., 4(2), 123126
Raynaud, D and 5 others (2007) The local insolation signature of air content in Antarctic ice: a new step toward an absolute dating of ice records. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 261(3–4), 337349 (doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.06.025)
Röthlisberger, R and 8 others (2003) Limited dechlorination of sea-salt aerosols during the last glacial period: evidence from the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) Dome C ice core. J. Geophys. Res., 108(D16), 4526 (doi: 10.1029/2003jd003604)
Shiraiwa, T, Shoji, H, Saito, T, Yokoyama, K and Watanabe, O (1996) Structure and dielectric properties of surface snow along the traverse route from coast to Dome Fuji Station, Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. Proc. NIPR Symp. Polar Meteorol. Glaciol., 10, 112
Sihvola, A and Kong, J (1988) Effective permittivity of dielectric mixtures. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., 26(4), 420429 (doi: 10.1109/36.3045)
Sugiyama, S and 6 others (2012) Snow density along the route traversed in the Japanese-Swedish Antarctic Expedition, 2007/08. J. Glaciol., 58(209), 529539 (doi: 10.3189/2012JoG11J201)
Suwa, M and Bender, ML (2008a) O2/N2 ratios of occluded air in the GISP2 ice core. J. Geophys. Res., 113(D11), D11119 (doi: 10.1029/2007JD009589)
Suwa, M and Bender, ML (2008b) Chronology of the Vostok ice core constrained by O2/N2 ratios of occluded air, and its implication for the Vostok climate records. Quat. Sci. Rev., 27(11–12), 10931106 (doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2008.02.017)
Thibert, E and Domine, F (1997) Thermodynamics and kinetics of the solid solution of HCl in ice. J. Phys. Chem. B, 101(18), 35543565 (doi: 10.1021/jp962115o)
Watanabe, O, and 12 others (1997) Preliminary discussion of physical properties of the Dome Fuji shallow ice core in 1993, Antarctica. Proc. NIPR Symp. Polar Meteorol. Glaciol., 11, 18
Watanabe, O and 5 others (2003) Homogeneous climate variability across East Antarctica over the past three glacial cycles. Nature, 422, 509512 (doi: 10.1038/nature01525)


Densification of layered firn in the ice sheet at Dome Fuji, Antarctica



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed