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Glaciology – Ultratrace Analysis of Samples from Remote Areas

Atomic Spectroscopy

  1. Carlo Barbante,
  2. Giulio Cozzi

Published Online: 9 JAN 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a9243

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Barbante, C. and Cozzi, G. 2014. Glaciology – Ultratrace Analysis of Samples from Remote Areas. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. 1–12.

Author Information

  1. IDPA-CNR, Venice, Italy

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 9 JAN 2014


Remote regions such as Antarctica and Greenland have been studied for many years because of the treasure of important chemical information preserved in their pristine ice caps. Considering their geographical position, the influence of anthropogenic pollution of many chemical compounds can be detected by sophisticated analytical approaches to detect their ultralow concentrations (down to femtograms per gram). To be reliable, these chemical data must be obtained after observing severe pre-analytical cleanliness protocols to preserve the original elemental concentration from contamination due to sampling and general handling operations. Furthermore, very sensitive analytical techniques such as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) have to be used to detect ultralow levels of contaminants in snow and ice samples. Here, we present a description of all the steps necessary to carry out analytical measurements at ultratrace levels in snow and ice samples collected in remote regions such as the Polar ice caps.


  • trace elements;
  • ICP-MS ;
  • snow;
  • ice cores;
  • anthropogenic pollution;
  • contamination control;
  • speciation