In-Situ Measurements of the Activation Energy for D.C. Conduction in Polar ice

Charles R. Bently
1979 Journal of Glaciology  
Electrical resistivity measurements were carried out at station J9 on the Ross Ice Shelf where temperature measurements were available to a depth exceeding three-quarters of the thickness of the shelf. As in a previously published study at a point about 30 km up-steam (Bentley, 1977), the apparent resistivities fit well to a model based upon a steady-state ice shelf with zero bottom balance-rate and an apparent activation energy in the solid ice of 0.15 to 0.25 eV (14–24. kJ mol−1), with
more » ... mol−1), with preference for the lower end of the range. This model also fits the observed temperature data almost perfectly. Causes of resistivity variation with depth other than the temperature, such as impurity content, metamorphic history, grain size and crystal orientation, probably do not strongly affect the resistivity depth function. Our conclusion is that the true activation energy in the solid ice is less than 0.25 eV (24 kJ mol−1) and perhaps as small as 0.15 eV (14 kJ mol−1), although a reduction by a factor of two or three in the ionic impurity concentration between 50 and 250 m depth cannot be entirely ruled out as a cause of the low apparent temperature effect. A note added in proof indicates that Herron and Langway (in press) have, in fact, reported a decrease in Na+ concentration with increasing depth by a factor of two or three.
doi:10.1017/s0022143000014234 fatcat:dx2c3rfscbgkzbb6zq34wzaqbe