Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. R.V. Krishnamurthy

Second Advisor

Dr. Duane R. Hampton

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Kehew


Isotope, snow, ice, precipitation, atmosphere

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


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.

Included in

Geology Commons