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3He and 21Ne in Ice Cores

3He and 21Ne in Ice Cores Figure 1

The core barrel of the DISC Ice Core Drill in West Antarctica, being used to drill a deep ice core (WAIS DIvide Ice Core) to study the detailed history of the last ice age in West Antarctica.

3He and 21Ne in Ice Cores Figure 2

Apparatus used for filtration of dust particles from an ice core sample in order to measure extraterrestrial helium.

Polar ice provides an archive of the IDP flux. Cosmic dust flux estimates from 3He in ice cores agree well with other independent estimates. Most of the 3He in cosmic dust in ice is carried in the <20 μm size fraction, in agreement with modeling results and with studies of cosmic dust in marine sediments. Polar ice is especially advantageous in this research because accumulation rates in ice cores are well known, there is very little terrestrial dust relative to other archives such as ocean sediments, 3He is dominated by the extraterrestrial source, chronologies are well established, and samples on a variety of time scales are available. Polar ice samples from ablation regions where large amounts of material can be obtained may become especially important for studies of extraterrestrial dust. Such samples provide a much larger number of extraterrestrial particles (including rare larger ones) than ice core samples, thereby allowing a more comprehensive investigation of noble gas inventories and relationships to particle type and composition. Possible changes in particle type and in the noble gas inventory with time are also of interest.

For more information, please see the OSU Ice Core and Quaternary Geochemistry Lab Homepage.

Related Publications

Brook, E., M. Kurz, and J. Curtice, 2009, Flux and size fractionation of 3He in interplanetary dust from Antarctic ice core samples, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 286, 565-569. PDF