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Characterization of subglacial Lake Vostok as seen from physical and isotope properties of accreted ice

Abstract : Deep drilling at the Vostok Station has reached the surface of subglacial Lake Vostok (LV) twice—in February 2012 and January 2015. As a result, three replicate cores from boreholes 5G-1, 5G-2 and 5G-3 became available for detailed and revalidation analyses of the 230 m thickness of the accreted ice, down to its contact with water at 3769 m below the surface. The study reveals that the concentration of gases in the lake water beneath Vostok is unexpectedly low. A clear signature of the melt water in the surface layer of the lake, which is subject to refreezing on the icy ceiling of LV, has been discerned in the three different properties of the accreted ice: the ice texture, the isotopic and the gas content of the ice. These sets of data indicate in concert that poor mixing of the melt (and hydrothermal) water with the resident lake water and pronounced spatial and/or temporal variability of local hydrological conditions are likely to be the characteristics of the southern end of the lake. The latter implies that the surface water may be not representative enough to study LV's behaviour, and that direct sampling of the lake at different depths is needed in order to move ahead with our understanding of the lake's hydrological regime.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 3, 2016 - 1:49:31 PM
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Vladimir Y. Lipenkov, Alexey Ekaykin, E. Polyakova, Dominique Raynaud. Characterization of subglacial Lake Vostok as seen from physical and isotope properties of accreted ice. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2015, ⟨10.1098/rsta.2014.0303⟩. ⟨insu-01326276⟩



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