Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lab researcher discovers the green in Greenland

18.04.2014

At one point in history, Greenland was actually green and not a country covered in ice.

An international team of researchers, including a former scientist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has discovered that ancient dirt in Greenland was cryogenically frozen for millions of years under nearly two miles of ice.


Former LLNL researcher Dylan Rood performs geology field work in eastern Greenland. Rood took dirt samples and analyzed them to determine that an ancient landscape millions of years old is preserved underneath the Greenland Ice Sheet.

More than 2.5 million years ago. Greenland looked like the green Alaskan tundra, before it was covered by the second largest body of ice on Earth.

The ancient dirt under the Greenland ice sheet helps to unravel an important mystery surrounding climate change: How did big ice sheets melt and grow in response to changes in temperature?

The research appears in the April 17 edition of Science Express.

"Our study demonstrates that the ice in the center of the Greenland Ice Sheet has remained stable during the climate variations of the last millions of years," said Dylan Rood, a former Lawrence Livermore scientist. "Our study adds to a body of evidence that shows how major ice sheets reacted in the past to warming, providing insights into what they could do again in the future."

An ancient landscape millions of years old is preserved underneath the Greenland Ice Sheet. The ancient dirt contains extremely large amounts of meteoric beryllium-10, which means that it had to have once sat at Earth's surface for a long time before Greenland was covered in ice. This type of beryllium-10 is produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere and literally rains out onto the Earth's surface, where it gets stuck to soil.

The more meteoric beryllium-10 atoms in the dirt, the longer it sat at the surface.

"It is amazing that a huge ice sheet, nearly two miles thick and the second largest body of ice on Earth, didn't scrape it away," said Rood, who now works at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC).

Rood counted how many beryllium-10 atoms were in the dirt using the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) at LLNL.

"The trick, of course, is isolating the extremely rare beryllium-10 atoms from the million billion beryllium-9 atoms in our samples," Rood said. "I'm always amazed to see how a pinhead-sized sample from dirt can be ionized and accelerated through the maze of beamlines in CAMS and then go exactly where it needs to go in order to allow us to count its individual atoms. The CAMS allows us to count these very rare beryllium-10 atoms, which is analogous to finding the one grain of sand that is different than the rest on a beach."

In the past five years or so, important advances in the ultra-sensitive and high-precision measurement of isotopes using AMS technology have revolutionized the ability of Earth scientists to understand how ice sheets have responded to past climate change.

Other institutions involved in the research include: University of Vermont, Idaho State University and University of Wyoming.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory provides solutions to our nation's most important national security challenges through innovative science, engineering and technology. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Anne M Stark | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: Accelerator Earth Environmental Greenland LLNL Laboratory Security Spectrometry temperature

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht The Arctic: Interglacial period with a break
28.05.2015 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Over 70% of glacier volume in Everest region could be lost by 2100
27.05.2015 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lasers are the key to mastering challenges in lightweight construction

Many joining and cutting processes are possible only with lasers. New technologies make it possible to manufacture metal components with hollow structures that are significantly lighter and yet just as stable as solid components. In addition, lasers can be used to combine various lightweight construction materials and steels with each other. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen is presenting a range of such solutions at the LASER World of Photonics trade fair from June 22 to 25, 2015 in Munich, Germany, (Hall A3, Stand 121).

Lightweight construction materials are popular: aluminum is used in the bodywork of cars, for example, and aircraft fuselages already consist in large part of...

Im Focus: Solid-state photonics goes extreme ultraviolet

Using ultrashort laser pulses, scientists in Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have demonstrated the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation from thin dielectric films and have investigated the underlying mechanisms.

In 1961, only shortly after the invention of the first laser, scientists exposed silicon dioxide crystals (also known as quartz) to an intense ruby laser to...

Im Focus: Advance in regenerative medicine

The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.

Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...

Im Focus: Basel Physicists Develop Efficient Method of Signal Transmission from Nanocomponents

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.

Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...

Im Focus: IoT-based Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation System

Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services

To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International symposium: trends in spatial analysis and modelling for a more sustainable land use

20.05.2015 | Event News

15th conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists

18.05.2015 | Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing health in Europe. Balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities

12.05.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists precisely measure interaction between atoms and carbon surfaces

29.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

Godwits are flexible...when they get the chance

29.05.2015 | Life Sciences

Project start: New active substance targeting dreaded hospital pathogens

29.05.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>