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Towards radiocarbon dating of ice cores

Abstract : 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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M. Sigl, T. M. Jenk, T. Kellerhals, S. Szidat, H. W. Gäggeler, et al.. Towards radiocarbon dating of ice cores. Journal of Glaciology, International Glaciological Society, 2009, 55 (194), pp.985-996. ⟨10.3189/002214309790794922⟩. ⟨insu-00498241⟩

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