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Towards radiocarbon dating of ice cores

  • M. Sigl (a1) (a2) (a3), T.M. Jenk (a4), T. Kellerhals (a1) (a2), S. Szidat (a1), H.W. Gäggeler (a1) (a2), L. Wacker (a5), H.-A. Synal (a5), C. Boutron (a6), C. Barbante (a7) (a8), J. Gabrieli (a7) and M. Schwikowski (a2) (a3)...


A recently developed dating method for glacier ice, based on the analysis of radiocarbon in carbonaceous aerosol particles, is thoroughly investigated. We discuss the potential of this method to achieve a reliable dating using examples from a mid- and a low-latitude ice core. Two series of samples from Colle Gnifetti (4450 m a.s.l., Swiss Alps) and Nevado Illimani (6300 m a.s.l., Bolivian Andes) demonstrate that the 14C ages deduced from the water-insoluble organic carbon fraction represent the age of the ice. Sample sizes ranged between 7 and 100 μg carbon. For validation we compare our results with those from independent dating. This new method is thought to have major implications for dating non-polar ice cores in the future, as it provides complementary age information for time periods not accessible with common dating techniques.

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