Slovene Research Initiative Updates

Researching Meltwater in Slovenia

During the summer of 2017, W. Berry Lyons, professor, School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State, travelled to Slovenia for two weeks under the auspices of the Slovene Research Initiative (SRI). In collaboration with Matija Zorn, a faculty member from the Department of Physical Geography within the Anton Melik Geographic Institute, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and Earth Sciences Professor Anne Carey, Lyons collected ice meltwater from several different locations within Slovenia.

Originally, Lyons had proposed to sample meltwaters from the Triglav Glacier in the Slovenian Alps. However, since the optimal time to visit the glacier would not be until August, the researchers decided on an alternate plan. During Lyons’ and Carey’s visit, samples were collected from a unique permafrost feature in Slovenia, ice-filled caves. Following their visit, Zorn travelled to the Triglav Glacier to collect meltwater and ice samples that were shipped back to a lab at Ohio State for Lyons and Carey to analyze.

We sampled ice from Paradana Cave in west central Slovenia and from Snežna Cave in the Kamnik Alps of northern Slovenia. In both caves, we sampled ice profiles (i.e., a series of samples from a vertical wall of ice). The ice was placed into plastic containers, allowed to melt, and then filtered into pre-cleaned plastic bottles that we had sent to Dr. Zorn prior to our arrival. The premise of the work was to establish the relative age of the ice recharge (seasonal vs. annual) and to determine the major element and nutrient geochemistry of the ice. These latter analyses were done to determine the pathway of entrance into the cave and to establish if any anthropogenic pollution occurred in these environments. We also wanted to assess if any climatic signal (e.g., warming) could be determined in the ice profile. Samples were carefully packed and shipped back to our lab here at Ohio State.

In August, our research group members began analyzing these samples. We have now submitted an abstract on this work for a paper to be presented at the annual Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting in October 2017 in Seattle.

–W. Berry Lyons

While in Slovenia, Lyons presented two seminars on his Antarctic research to packed audiences. The three researchers intend to continue their collaborations beyond this initial exchange supported by SRI, seeking new funding for future projects and writing a publication on the outcomes of their research presented at the GSA annual meeting.

Future Collaborations

In March 2018, Theodora Dragostinova will travel to Slovenia to collaborate with Dr. Tanja Petrovic of the Institute of Culture and Memory Studies, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

In December 2017, SRI once again held its annual Call for Proposals for its faculty exchange with the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Results of the 2017 competition will be published in the spring 2018 newsletter!