The Sr and Nd isotope ratios of the silicate minerals that dominate cryoconite vary because the mineral sources differ from one glacier to another.
2014) Geographical variations in Sr and Nd isotopic ratios of cryoconite on Asian glaciers.
Windblown debris on top of glaciers known as cryoconite
amplifies melting and can contain organic material that can form simple ecosystems in cryoconite
holes on the glacial surface.
Comparative analysis of Greenland and Antarctic cryoconite
Andy and the team were able to incubate microbes on the surface of the ice, employing modern DNA methods and microscopy to study how cryoconite
forms and directly observing why it persists upon the ice by influencing its surrounding habitat.
At the surface of glaciers there are cryoconites
, vertical tubes with a sediment layer topped with water.
The inspiration for the project came from one of my colleagues, Dr Andy Hodson [a glaciologist at the University of Sheffield], who was mapping glaciers, looking for things called cryoconites
, which are little organisms that live on the ice.