Stable-isotope (δD and δ18O) data from the Vostok (East Antarctica) ice core are used to explore whether or not subglacial Vostok lake is in isotopic steady state. A simple box model shows that the lake is likely to be in steady state on time-scales of the order of 104-105 years (three to four residence times of the water in the lake), given our current knowledge of north-south and east-west gradients in the stable-isotopic composition of precipitation in the vicinity of Vostok station and Ridge B. However, the lake may not be in perfect steady state depending on the precise location of the melting area, which determines the source region of inflowing ice, and on the magnitude of the east-west gradient in isotopic compositions in the vicinity of Vostok station and Ridge B.
Bibliographical noteRose publication type: Journal article
Sponsorship: Funding for this work was provided by UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) grant NER/A/S/2000/01144 and a NERC Studentship to G. Royston-Bishop