Collaborative Research: Volcanic Record in Antarctic Ice: Implications for Climatic and Eruptive History and Ice Sheet Dynamics of the South Polar Region
Taylor Dome Ice Core
Dunbar/Kyle OPP 9527373 Zielinski OPP 9527824 Abstract The Antarctic ice sheets are ideal places to preserve a record the volcanic ash (tephra) layers and chemical aerosol signatures of volcanic eruptions. This record, which is present both in areas of bare blue ice, as well as in deep ice cores, consists of a combination of local eruptions, as well as eruptions from more distant volcanic sources from which glassy shards can be chemically fingerprinted and related to a source volcano. Field work carried out during the 1994/1995 Antarctic field season in the Allan Hills area of Antarctica, and subsequent microbeam chemical analysis and 40Ar/39Ar dating has shown that tephra layers in deep Antarctic ice preserve a coherent, systematic stratigraphy, and can be successfully mapped, dated, chemically fingerprinted and tied to source volcanoes. The combination of chemical fingerprinting of glass shards, and chemical analysis of volcanic aerosols associated with ash layers will allow establishment of a high-resolution chronology of local and distant volcanism that can help understand patterns of significant explosive volcanisms and atmospheric loading and climactic effects associated with volcanic eruptions. Correlation of individual tephra layers, or sets of layers, in blue ice areas, which have been identified in many places the Transantarctic Mountains, will allow the geometry of ice flow in these areas to be better understood and will provide a useful basis for interpreting ice core records.
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