A determination of ice accumulation rates on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica

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The Ohio State University

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Net accumulation rates for sites on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica are calculated based on the interpretation of nuclear bomb fallout horizons and ice core drilling data. Fallout horizons within the ice cores are correlated with known beta-particle activity levels deposited in Antarctic ice during the austral summers of 1954-55 and 1965-66. A BASIC program calculates the depth of the fallout horizons utilizing a database of field drilling logs. The program calculates an ice-equivilent height for the snow column above the "bomb" core sample and divides this ice column height by the age of the fallout horizon to determine the accumulation rate. An error analysis was performed to determine the effect on accumulation rate by measurements of core sample size, mass and the interpretation of fallout horizon histograms. These calculations show that the determination of ice accumulation rate changes in direct proportion to changes in measurements of the core sample's length, mass, or the precise identification of the fallout horizons. Changes in measurements of the core diameter doubly affect the accumulation rate. Accumulation rate varies locally, but a regional trend is observed in that the rate generally appears to increase with increases in elevation, local surface slope and distance from coastal regions.