Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Cosmogenic Nuclides on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)

Funded by the National Science Foundation

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core Project will reach down through 3,500 meters of ice and reveal 100,000 years of climate history. Essential to our understanding of past changes in atmospheric circulation and the Earth’s magnetic field is the measurement of cosmogenic radionuclides. Long-lived radioisotopes such as beryllium 10 (10Be) and chlorine 36 (36Cl) are produced in the atmosphere by cosmic rays and deposited in accumulating snow. Current work on the project is focused on the measurement of 187 samples from the top 500 meters of core (in collaboration with Kuni Nishiizumi and Kees Welten at the Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory). Beginning in June, 2009, 10Be and 36Cl will be measured using accelerator mass spectrometry at the Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory.


  • Marc Caffee, Physics and EAS

Contact Information

Purdue University
203 S. Martin Jischke Drive
MANN 105
West Lafayette, IN 47907