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Chemical characteristics of the ice cores obtained after the first unsealing of subglacial Lake Vostok

By
Irina Alekhina
Irina Alekhina
Climate and Environmental Research Laboratory (CERL), Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St Petersburg 199397, Russia
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Alexey Ekaykin
Alexey Ekaykin
Climate and Environmental Research Laboratory (CERL), Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St Petersburg 199397, RussiaSt Petersburg State University, 7–9 University Embankment, St Petersburg 198504, Russia
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Alexey Moskvin
Alexey Moskvin
St Petersburg State University, 7–9 University Embankment, St Petersburg 198504, Russia
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Vladimir Lipenkov
Vladimir Lipenkov
Climate and Environmental Research Laboratory (CERL), Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St Petersburg 199397, Russia
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

Drilling fluid (DF) is one of the main sources of chemical and biological contamination of deep ice cores and lake water samples in the exploration of Subgalcial Antarctic Lake Environments (SALE). In this study, we investigated the contamination of an ice core that represented the first samples of refrozen lake water obtained 1 year after the unsealing of Lake Vostok in 2012. We show that these samples contain inclusions of the DF with a concentration of at least 16.7 mg l−1 (0.0019% or 19 ppmv). This makes it extremely difficult to obtain reliable data on the real chemical composition of the lake water. The focus of our study is the organic components of the DF, which built up in the secondary ice while the water was freezing in the borehole. Of all the possible organic compounds of the DF, only phenol congeners (up to 32.4 mg l−1) and dichlorofluoroethane HCFC-141b (14.4 mg l−1), a DF densifier, were found in the central channel, which is the last part of the core to freeze in the borehole. We conclude that the phenol compounds emerge due to physical processes, namely fractionation, during freezing, rather than any chemical reaction between the DF and the lake water.

Supplementary material: The detailed chemical data are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3783641

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Exploration of Subsurface Antarctica: Uncovering Past Changes and Modern Processes

M. J. Siegert
M. J. Siegert
Imperial College London, UK
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S. S. R. Jamieson
S. S. R. Jamieson
Durham University, UK
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D. A. White
D. A. White
University of Canberra, Australia
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The Geological Society of London
Volume
461
ISBN electronic:
9781786203427
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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