A scanning electron microscope technique for identifying the mineralogy of dust in ice cores

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Journal of Glaciology


Dust particles in an ice core from East Rongbuk Glacier on the northern slope of Qomolangma (Mount Everest; 288010 N, 868580 E; 6518 m a.s.l.), central Himalaya, have been identified as mica using a combination of scanning electron microscope-based techniques and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to identify the elements present, and electron backscatter diffraction to identify the crystal type. This technique for identifying individual crystalline dust particles in samples of glacial ice could be especially useful in the future for identifying water-soluble crystals in ice, for studying the strain history (glaciotectonics) of basal ice or in studies of ice–mica composites used as analogs of quartz-mica rocks.