Documentation for Major Ion Concentrations in 2004 South Pole Ice Core, Version 1

Back to Top

Collapse All / Open All

A 180 m ice core drilled at South Pole in 2004/2005 was analyzed for concentrations of major ions at a depth resolution of approximately 2 cm. Measured ions are chloride, nitrate, sulfate, sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. The bottom of the core has been dated to 1830 years before 2004.

Detailed Data Description


Data are provided in Excel .xlsx format.

Background color on
File and Directory Structure

Data are available on the FTP site in the directory.

Background color on
File Naming Convention

File name:

SP04C5 concentration data.xlsx

Background color on
File Size

File is 1.3 MB.

Background color on
Spatial Coverage

South Pole: -90°

Spatial Resolution

Approximately 2 cm depth resolution.

Background color on
Temporal Coverage

Ice core collection: 2004/2005 
Lab analysis / chemistry measurements: 2005-2010

The bottom of the core has been dated to 1830 years before 2004.

Background color on
Parameter or Variable

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

Table 1. Chemical Composition of Ice and Snow
Parameter Description Units
Tube Ice core number number
Sample Number Sample Number number
Sample Size Core sample size Centimeters
Snow Depth Top Depth from top along vertical length of ice core Meters
Cl Chlorine micrograms/litre (µg/l)
NO3 Nitrate micrograms/litre (µg/l)
SO4 Sulfate micrograms/litre (µg/l)
NA Sodium micrograms/litre (µg/l)
K Potassium micrograms/litre (µg/l)
Mg Magnesium micrograms/litre (µg/l)
Ca Calcium micrograms/litre (µg/l)

Sample Data Record

The following is a sample from the SP04C5 concentration data.xlsx data file

sample concentration data
Figure 1. Sample Data Record

Background color on

Software and Tools

Background color on

Data Acquisition and Processing

Data Acquisition Methods

This dataset contains concentrations of ions (chloride, nitrate, sulfate, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium in an ice core drilled at South Pole (90° S) in December 2004/January 2005.

Processing Steps

The 181 m core was chemically analyzed with the technique of CFA-IC (Mettler-based continuous flow analysis with online ion chromatography detection) in the Ice Core and Environmental Chemistry Lab at South Dakota State University. The temporal resolution of chemical analysis is approximately 2 cm per measurement. The core was dated with annual layer counting and the age of the ice at the bottom of core is estimated to be 1828 years before 2004 or 176 C.E.

Concentrations of ions are expressed in micrograms per liter of meltwater or micrograms per kg of ice (parts per billion or ppb). Measurements were based on sample size (cm) along the vertical length of the ice core. Except for the top 2 meters, which were discretely sampled by manual cutting, the entire length of the ice core (a 3 by 3 cm cross section) was melted on an ice core melter. Sampling or measurement resolution in cm was determined by the number of ion chromatographic measurements made for a given length of core and the speed of melting.

Background color on

References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Jihong Cole-Dai
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Box 2202 
South Dakota State University 
Brookings, SD 57007 

Mark H. Thiemens 
Division of Physical Sciences
Urey Hall Addn 3020D
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0356


This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Polar Programs, Antarctic Research, Glaciology grant number 033793.

Document Information

Document Creation Date

19 November 2013