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Greenland ice cores contain layers of wind-blown dust that correlate with cold, dry periods in the past, when cold deserts were scoured by wind.
Norsemen settled the uninhabited southern part of Greenland beginning in the 10th century, and Inuit peoples arrived in the 13th century.
The Norse colonies disappeared in the late 15th century.
Radioactive elements, either of natural origin or created by nuclear testing, can be used to date the layers of ice in the cores.
Some volcanic events which were sufficiently powerful to have distributed material around the globe leave a signature in the ice which can be detected in many different cores, allowing synchronization of the time scales between two different locations.