Date of Award

4-2016

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Geosciences

First Advisor

Dr. R.V. Krishnamurthy

Second Advisor

Dr. Duane R. Hampton

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Kehew

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

4-15-2018

Abstract

Understanding the processes that govern the cryosphere is necessary to understand the water budget within an area that receives significant winter precipitation. This research investigates two components of the cryosphere, namely snow and icicle formation, through the application of the stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen.

Stable isotope measurements from precipitation collected throughout the winter of 2013-2014 are presented. The measured isotope values are in discord with known isotope effects. This discrepancy hints at a previously unexplored atmospheric phenomenon, where the enriched oxygen isotope signature of atmospheric ozone was incorporated, via photochemical reactions, into water vapor which subsequently fell as precipitation.

Furthermore, this work uses stable isotope measurements to tests the theoretical model suggested for icicle formation and examines icicle evolution. This is the first systematic stable isotope study of icicles. It is proposed that icicles grow according to a “growth-cessation-growth” model, where a cessation period occurs between growth periods.

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