delta D-delta O-18 relationships on a polythermal valley glacier: Midtre Lovenbreen, Svalbard

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalPolar Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 09 Sep 2011
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This paper outlines the results of stable isotope (deltaD-delta(18)O) analysis of snow and glacier ice undertaken as part of a larger study concerning structural glaciology, debris entrainment and debris transport patterns at Midtre Lovenbreen, Svalbard. Samples of fresh snow were collected from the glacier surface in spring 1999 and samples of surface glacier ice and basal ice samples were collected in summer 1999. When plotted on bivariate co-isotopic diagrams (deltaD-delta(18)O), the slopes obtained for snow and unmodified glacier ice (6.4 and 6.9, respectively) are less steep than those for the basal ice layer and transverse ice layers on the ice surface (7.6 and 7.7, respectively). The difference in the slope of these lines is not statistically significant at the sample size (50) used in this study. The results indicate that although stable isotope analysis clearly has potential for studies of debris entrainment, transport and structural glaciology, difficulties remain with applying this technique. It is therefore not possible to apply these isotopic techniques to ice facies of unknown origins. In particular, large sample numbers are required to establish statistical differences and high-resolution sampling of specific ice facies may be necessary to establish isotopic differences.