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 Extending climate predictability beyond El Niño
21.04.2015 | University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST

nachricht Comparing Climate Models to Real World Shows Differences in Precipitation Intensity
17.04.2015 | Department of Energy, Office of Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: On the trail of a trace gas

Max Planck researcher Buhalqem Mamtimin determines how much nitrogen oxide is released into the atmosphere from agriculturally used oases.

In order to make statements about current and future air pollution, scientists use models which simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. A lot of information such as...

Im Focus: Advances in Molecular Electronics: Lights On – Molecule On

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Konstanz are working on storing and processing information on the level of single molecules to create the smallest possible components that will combine autonomously to form a circuit. As recently reported in the academic journal Advanced Science, the researchers can switch on the current flow through a single molecule for the first time with the help of light.

Dr. Artur Erbe, physicist at the HZDR, is convinced that in the future molecular electronics will open the door for novel and increasingly smaller – while also...

Im Focus: Pruning of Blood Vessels: Cells Can Fuse With Themselves

Cells of the vascular system of vertebrates can fuse with themselves. This process, which occurs when a blood vessel is no longer necessary and pruned, has now been described on the cellular level by Prof. Markus Affolter from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. The findings of this study have been published in the journal “PLoS Biology”.

The vascular system is the supply network of the human organism and delivers oxygen and nutrients to the last corners of the body. So far, research on the...

Im Focus: Astronomers reveal supermassive black hole's intense magnetic field

Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy

Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a...

Im Focus: A “pin ball machine” for atoms and photons

A team of physicists from MPQ, Caltech, and ICFO proposes the combination of nano-photonics with ultracold atoms for simulating quantum many-body systems and creating new states of matter.

Ultracold atoms in the so-called optical lattices, that are generated by crosswise superposition of laser beams, have been proven to be one of the most...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Better battery imaging paves way for renewable energy future

21.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Extending climate predictability beyond El Niño

21.04.2015 | Earth Sciences

Risk Perception: Social Exchange Can Amplify Subjective Fears

21.04.2015 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>