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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 5, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 5, 291–298, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-5-291-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Ice Caves

The Cryosphere, 5, 291–298, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-5-291-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 29 Mar 2011

Research article | 29 Mar 2011

Isotope hydrological studies of the perennial ice deposit of Saarhalle, Mammuthöhle, Dachstein Mts, Austria

Z. Kern1,*, I. Fórizs1, R. Pavuza2, M. Molnár3, and B. Nagy4 Z. Kern et al.
  • 1Institute for Geochemical Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2Department of Karst and Cave Science at the Museum of Natural History, Vienna, Austria
  • 3Institute of Nuclear Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary
  • 4Department of Physical Geography, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
  • *now at: Department of Palaeontology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Pázmány Péter str. 1/c, H-1117, Hungary

Abstract. A 5.28 m-long ice core was extracted from a major cave ice body in the Mammuthöhle cave system. The upper ~1.2 m of ice most likely originate from precipitation fallen before the 1960s (based on <8.5 TU). Characteristic fluctuations in electrical conductivity were observed in the cave ice profile, which seem to mirror the fluctuation of karst and surface water in the water supply of the ice accumulation. The stable isotope composition does not support the hypothesis that ice layers with low conductivity are formed by freezing out of water vapour. Isotope fractionation effects during the freezing process are indicated by the enrichment of heavy stable isotopes (2H, 18O) in the ice compared to the potential sources (local precipitation, karst water) and by the characteristically low d-excess values. In addition, the cave ice water line shows a slope coefficient of 8.13. A two-component open-system model (i.e. a depleted component mixed with the freezing water) can adequately explain the measured isotopic compositions of the Saarhalle cave ice.

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