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Published January 1959 | Published
Journal Article Open

Oxygen-Isotope Variations in the Malaspina and Saskatchewan Glaciers


Oxygen-isotope analyses of ice and firn from the Saskatchewan Glacier, Canada, and the Glacier, Alaska, show that variations in O¹⁸/O¹⁶ ratios are likely to be of considerable value in research. The general trend of O¹⁸/O¹⁶ ratios in ice along the center flow line of Saskatchewan a decrease from firn limit to terminus. This is interpreted as indicating that ice at successively in the glacier tongue originated at progressively higher positions in the accumulation area, thus Reid's early deductions concerning flow lines in a valley glacier. Ice in the glacier tongue average O¹⁸/0¹⁶ ratio than the 1953-1954 layer of firn in the accumulation area. This may fact that meltwater relatively rich in O¹⁸ percolating down from the surface has refrozen firn, or it may possibly indicate a change to cooler climatic conditions within the last few hundred Ice samples from a transverse profile across Saskatchewan Glacier have higher O¹⁸/O¹⁶ ratios near the center than near the margins. This occurs because the marginal ice comes from a higher altitude in the accumulation area. Separate strata within Saskatchewan firn display large differences in preserved to some degree in the ice tongue and may be useful in the identification layering. However, a high degree of homogenization can occur by the time of the glacier, as shown by a series of closely spaced samples of well-foliated oxygen-isotope ratios. In Malaspina Glacier, the oxygen-isotope ratios confirm a deduction made units composing this piedmont sheet. Ice that originates in the upper Seward ratio than material supplied from higher mountain slopes bounding that confirm an earlier interpretation to the effect that the intensely deformed ice in the outer part of Malaspina Glacier represent individual valley.

Additional Information

© 1959 University of Chicago Press. The assistance of M. F. Meier, D. O. Emerson, and G. C. Wallerstein in obtaining samples from the Saskatchewan Glacier is acknowledged. Barbara Jones aided in the laboratory analyses. The mass spectrometer used is the property of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, and much of the work has been supported by ONR contracts Nonr-220(15) and N6onr-244-16. The manuscript has been improved by the critical comments and suggestions of G. J. Wasserburg, M. F. Meier, and Irene Vidziunas.

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