Naturally deformed ice contains subgrains with characteristic geometries that have recently been identified in etched surfaces using high-resolution light microscopy (LM). The probable slip systems responsible for these subgrain boundary types can be determined using electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD), providing the etch features imaged with reflected LM can be retained during EBSD data acquisition in a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Retention of the etch features requires that the ice surface is stable. Depending on the pressure and temperature, sublimation of ice can occur. The equilibrium temperature for a low pressure SEM operating at 1 × 10^−6 hPa is about −112°C and operating at higher temperatures causes sublimation. Although charging of uncoated ice samples is reduced by sublimation, important information contained in the etch features are removed as the surface sublimes. We developed a method for collecting EBSD data on stable ice surfaces in a low pressure SEM. We found that operating at temperatures of <112°C reduced sublimation so that the original etch surface features were retained. Charging, which occurred at low pressures (<1.5 × 10^−6 to 2.8 × 10^−5 hPa) was reduced by defocusing the beam. At very low pressures (<1.5 × 10^−6 hPa) the spatial resolution with a defocused beam at 10 kV was about 3 μm in the x-direction at −150°C and 0.5 μm at −120°C, because at higher temperature charging was less and only a small defocus was needed to compensate it. Angular resolution was better than 0.7° after orientation averaging. Excellent agreement was obtained between LM etch features and EBSD mapped microstructures. First results are shown, which indicate subgrain boundary types comprised of basal (tilt and twist) and nonbasal dislocations (tilt boundaries).
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES I (2009-2013) > TOPIC 1: The Changing Arctic and Antarctic > WP 1.1: Role of Ice Sheets in the Earth System