Project Information
Collaborative Research: Developing an Antarctic Tephra Database for Interdisciplinary Paleoclimate Research (AntT)
Start Date:
End Date:
Many key questions in climate research (e.g. relative timing of climate events in different geographic areas, climate-forcing mechanisms, natural threshold levels in the climate system) are dependent on accurate reconstructions of the temporal and spatial distribution of past rapid climate change events in continental, atmospheric, marine and polar realms. This collaborative interdisciplinary research project aims to consolidate, into a single user-friendly database, information about volcanic products detected in Antarctica. By consolidating information about volcanic sources, and physical and geochemical characteristics of volcanic products, this systematic data collection approach will improve the ability of researchers to identify volcanic ash, or tephra, from specific volcanic eruptions that may be spread over large areas in a geologically instantaneous amount of time. Development of this database will assist in the identification and cross-correlation of time intervals in various paleoclimate archives that contain volcanic layers from often unknown sources. The AntT project relies on a cyberinfrastructure framework developed in house through NSF funded CDI-Type I: CiiWork for data assimilation, interpretation and open distribution model. In addition to collection and integration of existing information about volcanic products, this project will focus on filling the information gaps about unique physico-chemical characteristics of very fine (<3 micrometer) volcanic particles (cryptotephra) that are present in Antarctic ice cores. This component of research will involve improving analytical methodology for detecting cryptotephra layers in ice, and will train a new generation of scientists to apply an array of modern state?of?the-art instrumentation available to the project team.

The recognized importance of tephra in establishing a chronological framework for volcanic and sedimentary successions has already resulted in the development of robust regional tephrochronological frameworks (e.g. Europe, Kamchatka, New Zealand, Western North America). The AntT project will provide this framework for Antarctic tephrochronology, as needed for precise correlation records between Antarctic ice cores (e.g. WAIS Divide, RICE, ITASE) and global paleoclimate archives. The results of AntT will be of particular significance to climatologists, paleoclimatologists, atmospheric chemists, geochemists, climate modelers, solar-terrestrial physicists, environmental statisticians, and policy makers for designing solutions to mitigate or cope with likely future impacts of climate change events on modern society.
Person Role
Hartman, Laura Co-Investigator
Wheatley, Sarah D. Co-Investigator
Kurbatov, Andrei V. Investigator
Antarctic Integrated System Science Award # 1142007
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
Repository Title (link) Format(s) Status
USAP-DC Antarctic Tephra Data Base AntT static web site None exist
USAP-DC Antarctic Ice Core Tephra Analysis None exist
  1. Iverson, N.A., Kalteyer, D., Dunbar, N.W., Kurbatov, A., and Yates, M.. 2016. Advancements and best practices for analysis and correlation of tephra and cryptotephra in ice, Quaternary Geochronology, (doi:10.1016/j.quageo.2016.09.008)
  2. Koffman, B. G., Dowd, E. G., Osterberg, E. C., Ferris, D. G., Hartman, L. H., Wheatley, S. D., … Yates, M. (2017). Rapid transport of ash and sulfate from the 2011 Puyehue-Cordón Caulle (Chile) eruption to West Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 122(16), 8908–8920. (doi:10.1002/2017jd026893)
  3. Hartman, L. H., Kurbatov, A. V., Winski, D. A., Cruz-Uribe, A. M., Davies, S. M., Dunbar, N. W., … Yates, M. G. (2019). Volcanic glass properties from 1459 C.E. volcanic event in South Pole ice core dismiss Kuwae caldera as a potential source. Scientific Reports, 9(1). (doi:10.1038/s41598-019-50939-x)
  4. Luongo, M. T., Kurbatov, A. V., Erhardt, T., Mayewski, P. A., McCormick, M., More, A. F., … Bohleber, P. D. (2017). Possible Icelandic Tephra Found in European Colle Gnifetti Glacier. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 18(11), 3904–3909. (doi:10.1002/2017gc007022)
Platforms and Instruments

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