Documentation for Allan Hills Stable Water Isotopes , Version 1

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This data set includes stable water isotope values at 10 m resolution along an approximately 5 km transect through the main icefield of the Allan Hills Blue Ice Area, and at 15 cm within a 225 m core drilled at the midpoint of the transect.

Detailed Data Description


Data are provided in tab-delimited ASCII format.

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File and Directory Structure

Data are available on the FTP site in the directory.

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File Naming Convention

File names:


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File Size

Files are 15 KB and 36 KB.

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Total data volume is 51 KB.

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Spatial Coverage

Allan Hills Blue Ice Area, Antarctica

Southernmost Latitude: -76.83° 
Northernmost Latitude: -75.67° 
Westernmost Longitude: 159° 
Easternmost Longitude: 159.25°

-76.70245° Latitude
159.31114° Longitude

Spatial Resolution

Surface: 10 m
Core 27: 15 cm

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Temporal Coverage

Paleo Temporal Coverage: 90,000 ybp to 250,000 ybp.

Data collected from 2009 to 2011.

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Parameter or Variable

Parameters included in the transect file and the ice core file are described in Table 1.

Table 1. Allan Hills Stable Water Isotopes Parameters
Parameter Description Units
Age Paleo-temporal age ka
Distance Distance along transect 
Depth Depth of sample 
d180 Oxygen isotope δ18
Per mil
dD Deuterium isotope δD 
Per mil
Site Sample site number n/a
Latitude Latitude Decimal Degrees
Longitude Longitude Decimal Degrees

Sample Data Record

The following is a sample from the AllanHills_SurfaceTransect.txt data file.

sample transect data
Figure 1. Sample Data Record Transect File

The following is a sample from the AllanHills_Site27.txt data file.

sample core data
Figure 2. Sample Data Record Ice Core File

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Software and Tools

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Data Acquisition Methods

Surface ice samples, approximately 50 grams each, were collected from 5-10 cm below the ice surface at 10 m interval between the flagged waypoints (listed as Site Numbers - coordinates provided) of a transect (A-B) through the main icefield.

The 225 m core at site number 27 was drilled at approximately the mid-point of transect A-B (near 11 at -76.70245°, 159.31114°) using an ECLIPSE electromechanical ice drill. The core was sampled at 15 cm resolution.

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Derivation Techniques and Algorithms

Processing Steps

Surface transect ice samples were processed at McMurdo Station's Crary Laboratory using the following procedure.

  1. Each sample was melted in a sealed plastic bag at room temperature, vigorously shaken, then decanted into an 18 ml plastic scintillation vial. As an extra precaution against evaporation during shipment, the scintillation vials were sealed with both paraffin wax and electric tape.
  2. The sealed samples were refrozen and shipped to the University of Maine where they remained frozen (below -10° C) until the time of analysis.
  3. All samples analyzed between February and April of 2010 at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute for δ18O via equilibration with CO2 gas at 25° C.
  4. Equilibrated gas was admitted from a Micromass Multiprep peripheral to a VG SIRA dual inlet mass spectrometer for measurement (±0.5 per mil precision).
  5. Isotope ratios are normalized on the V-SMOW / SLAP scale.

Samples from the 225 m core were processed as above and analyzed between September and October of 2011 at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute for δD by continuous flow isotope mass spectrometry, via Cr pyrolysis at 1050° C with an Eurovector elemental analyzer coupled to a Micromass Isoprime.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

University of Maine
Climate Change Institute
303 Bryand Global Sciences Building
Orono, Maine 04469 

Nicole Spaulding, Paul Mayewski, Douglas Introne
University of Maine
Climate Change Institute
303 Bryand Global Science Building
Orono, Maine 04469


This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Polar Programs, Antarctic Research, Glaciology grant number 0838843.

Document Information


21 October 2013