A high resolution record of chlorine-36 nuclear-weapons-tests fallout from Central Asia

, , , , ,
DOI: 10.1016/j.nimb.2004.04.157



The Inilchek Glacier, located in the Tien Shan Mountains, central Asia, is unique among mid-latitude glaciers because of its relatively large average annual accumulation. In July 2000, two ice cores of 162 and 167 meters (m) in length were collected from the Inilchek Glacier for (chlorine-36) 36Cl analysis a part of a collaborative international effort to study the environmental changes archived in mid-latitude glaciers worldwide. The average annual precipitation at the collection site was calculated to be 1.6 m. In contrast, the reported average annual accumulations at the high-latitude Dye-3 glacial site, Greenland, the mid-latitude Guliya Ice Cap, China, and the mid-latitude Upper Fremont Glacier, Wyoming, USA, were 0.52, 0.16 and 0.76 m, respectively. The resolution of the 36Cl record in one of the Inilchek ice cores was from 2 to 10 times higher than the resolution of the records at these other sites and could provide an opportunity for detailed study of environmental changes that have occurred over the past 150 years. Despite the differences in accumulation among these various glacial sites, the 36Cl profile and peak concentrations for the Inilchek ice core were remarkably similar in shape and magnitude to those for ice cores from these other sites. The 36Cl peak concentration from 1958, the year during the mid-1900s nuclear-weapons-tests period when 36Cl fallout was largest, was preserved in the Inilchek core at a depth of 90.56 m below the surface of the glacier (74.14-m-depth water equivalent) at a concentration of 7.7 ?? 105 atoms of 36Cl/gram (g) of ice. Peak 36Cl concentrations from Dye-3, Guliya and the Upper Fremont glacial sites were 7.1 ?? 105, 5.4 ?? 105 and 0.7 ?? 105 atoms of 36Cl/g of ice, respectively. Measurements of 36Cl preserved in ice cores improve estimates of historical worldwide atmospheric deposition of this isotope and allow the sources of 36Cl in ground water to be better identified. ?? 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
A high resolution record of chlorine-36 nuclear-weapons-tests fallout from Central Asia
Year Published:
First page:
Last page:
Number of Pages: