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East Rongbuk Glacier, Mt. Qomolangma (Everest)

Click here to obtain East Rongbuk Glacier data.

An 80.4m ice core was recovered in August 1998 from a site at 6500m above sea level from the East Rongbuk (ER) Glacier (27°59'N, 86° 55'E), less than 5km northeast of the peak of Mt. Qomolangma (Everest), by using an electromechanical drill in dry hole. Analyses of stable oxygen isotope ratios (δ18O) were performed in the Key Laboratory of Ice Core and Cold Regions Environment. Measurements of the major chemical species were performed in the Climate Change Research Center (CCRC), University of New Hampshire (UNH). The ice core was dated by counting the seasonal variations of the stable isotopic and major ionic profiles. The result was further verified by double beta activity horizons produced by the atmospheric thermonuclear tests in the early 1950s to the early 1960s. A series of sulphate volcanic events were also identified, including Suwanose-jima, Japan (29.5° N, 129.7° E, erupted in 1877), Krakatau, Indonesia (6.1° S, 105.4° E, 1883), Bandai, Japan (37.6° N, 140.1° E, 1888), Suwanose-jima, Japan (29.5° N, 129.7° E, 1889), three eruptions between 13-15° N (1902), Komaga-take, Japan (42.1° N, 140.7° E, 1929), two eruptions between 8.9-16.3° S (1951) and Agung, Indonesia (8.3° S, 115.5° E, 1963).

In 2002 a 108 m ice core drilled to bedrock was recovered from the col of the East Rongbuk glacier located on the northeast ridge of Mt. Everest (28.03° N, 86.96 °E, 6518 m). The ice core was melted into 3123 samples and analyzed for soluble ions (Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2 + , Cl-, NO3-, SO42-), hydrogen isotopes (δD), and Bi. The ice core was annually dated to 1534 AD at a depth of 98 m using seasonal variations in δD and soluble ions, and the timescale was verified by identifying large volcanic horizons from the first high-resolution measurements of Bi on an Asian ice core. Below 98 m annual layer counting is not possible due to layer thinning, thus prior to 1534 AD the ice core was dated using a flow model.

In the summer of 2002 the 39m ERIC2002C ice core was retrieved in a dry hole from the Repula Col of the East Rongbuk Glacier. High-resolution Black Carbon (BC) measurements were made on the upper 4m of the core, corresponding to the last 50 years of deposition.


Hou Shugui, Qin Dahe, Zhang Dongqi, Kang Shichang, Paul A. Mayewski, C. P. Wake, 2003. A 154a high resolution ammonium record from the Rongbuk Glacier, north slope of Mt. Qomolangma (Everest), Tibet-Himal region. Atmospheric Environment, 37(5), 721-729.

Hou Shugui, Qin Dahe, Yao Tandong, Zhang Dongqi, Chen Tuo, 2002. Recent change of the ice core accumulation rates on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Chinese Science Bulletin, 47(20), 1746-1749.

Hou Shugui, Qin Dahe, Zhang Dongqi, Ren Jiawen, Kang Shichang, P.A. Mayewski, C.P. Wake, 2002. Comparison of two ice core chemical records recovered from the Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) region. Annals of Glaciology 35, 266-272.

Kaspari, S., P. Mayewski, S. Kang, S. Sneed, S. Hou, R. Hooke, K. Kreutz, D. Introne, M. Handley, K. Maasch, D. Qin, and J. Ren. 2007. Reduction in northward incursions of the South Asian monsoon since ~1400 AD inferred from a Mt. Everest ice core. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L16701, doi:10.1029/2007GL030440.

Ming, J., H. Cachier, C. Xiao, D. Qin, S. Kang, S. Hou, and J. Xu. 2008. Black carbon record based on a shallow Himalayan ice core and its climatic implications. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 8, pp. 1343-1352.

Qin Dahe, Hou Shugui, Zhang Dongqi, Ren Jiawen, Kang Shichang, P.A. Mayewski, C.P. Wake, 2002. Preliminary results from the chemical records of an 80m ice core recovered from the East Rongbuk Glacier, Mt. Qomolangma (Everest). Annals of Glaciology 35, 278-284.

Shichang Kang, Paul A Mayewski, Dahe Qin, Yuping Yan, Dongqi Zhang, Shugui Hou, Jiawen Ren. 2002. Twentieth century increase of atmospheric ammonia recorded in Mt. Everest ice core. Journal of Geophysical Research, 107(D21), 10.1029/2001JD001413, 4595, ACL13-1 - ACL13-9.

S. Kang, P. A. Mayewski, D. Qin, Y. Yan, K. Kruetz, S. Hou, D. Zhang, 2002. Glaciochemical records from a Mt. Everest ice core: relationship to atmospheric circulation over Asia. Atmospheric Environment, 36(21): 3351-3361.

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