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 In the Southern Ocean, a carbon-dioxide mystery comes clear
04.02.2016 | The Earth Institute at Columbia University

nachricht Several metre thick ice cocktail beneath coastal Antarctic sea ice
04.02.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

Im Focus: Microscopy: Nine at one blow

Advance in biomedical imaging: The University of Würzburg's Biocenter has enhanced fluorescence microscopy to label and visualise up to nine different cell structures simultaneously.

Fluorescence microscopy allows researchers to visualise biomolecules in cells. They label the molecules using fluorescent probes, excite them with light and...

Im Focus: NASA's ICESat-2 equipped with unique 3-D manufactured part

NASA's follow-on to the successful ICESat mission will employ a never-before-flown technique for determining the topography of ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice, but that won't be the only first for this mission.

Slated for launch in 2018, NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) also will carry a 3-D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK),...

Im Focus: Sinking islands: Does the rise of sea level endanger the Takuu Atoll in the Pacific?

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister picture is being painted evoking the demise of the island states and their cultures. Are the effects of sea-level rise already noticeable on reef islands? Scientists from the ZMT have now answered this question for the Takuu Atoll, a group of Pacific islands, located northeast of Papua New Guinea.

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister...

Im Focus: Energy-saving minicomputers for the ‘Internet of Things’

The ‘Internet of Things’ is growing rapidly. Mobile phones, washing machines and the milk bottle in the fridge: the idea is that minicomputers connected to these will be able to process information, receive and send data. This requires electrical power. Transistors that are capable of switching information with a single electron use far less power than field effect transistors that are commonly used in computers. However, these innovative electronic switches do not yet work at room temperature. Scientists working on the new EU research project ‘Ions4Set’ intend to change this. The program will be launched on February 1. It is coordinated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).

“Billions of tiny computers will in future communicate with each other via the Internet or locally. Yet power consumption currently remains a great obstacle”,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

DATE 2016 Highlighting Automotive and Secure Systems

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new potential biomarker for cancer imaging

05.02.2016 | Life Sciences

Graphene is strong, but is it tough?

05.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

Tiniest Particles Shrink Before Exploding When Hit With SLAC's X-ray Laser

05.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>