Lead pollution produced by 12th-century mines in Britain can be seen in Alpine ice cores, new research reports – directly mirroring historical records and demonstrating the impact of political events of the time.
This month, we are discussing something new for Science Notes: ice-core analysis. This technique is based on the fact that, as atmospheric particles settle on glaciers – whether through precipitation or wind – they become trapped in the outermost layer of ice. As these layers accumulate each year, they create a sequential time capsule. By extracting cores from these glaciers, the layers can be separated and the particles analysed, providing evidence for global climate and pollution fluctuations through history.