Isotopes and Ice Cores

  • Claudio Vita-FinziEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Astronomy book series (BRIEFSASTRON)


Isotopes produced by the interaction of galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) with atmospheric gases are incorporated in ice, sediments and plants. Beryllium-10 (10Be) has a half life (t1/2) of 1.5 Myr. Its short atmospheric residence time means that changes in 10Be production can be traced at high resolution in stratified ice, but extracting the solar signal is complicated by climatic, geomagnetic and other factors and is performed confidently only for data from ~100–1,000 yr BP, where the Maunder and other sunspot minima are clearly represented. Nevertheless progress in geomagnetic, palaeoclimatic and glaciological reconstruction should eventually unlock the solar data inherent in 10Be sequences that already span the last 800 kyr. There is also the promise of identifying solar energetic particle (SEP) events from nitrate-rich layers in ice cores.


Galactic cosmic rays Cosmogenic isotopes Beryllium-10 (10Be) GRIP EPICA SEPs 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MineralogyNatural History MuseumLondonUK

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