The Sr and Nd isotope ratios of the silicate minerals that dominate cryoconite vary because the mineral sources differ from one glacier to another.
(2001) Structure, formation, and darkening process of albedo-reducing material (cryoconite) on a Himalayan glacier: a granular algal mat growing on the glacier.
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. J.
Optical characteristics of cryoconite (surface dust) on glaciers: the relationship between light absorbency and the property of organic matter contained in the cryoconite.
Trapping wind-blown particles and other debris that would otherwise be washed away, the organisms form patches called 'cryoconite', which darken the ice surface and allow more of the sun's energy to be absorbed.
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.