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Volcanic layers in Antarctic (Vostok) ice cores: Source identification and atmospheric implications

Abstract : Fifteen visible volcanic ash layers (tephra) from Vostok ice cores have been analyzed for major elements, trace elements, and Sr and Nd isotope composition. Comparison of their geochemical signatures to lava composition from the inventory of Antarctic and subantarctic volcanoes, which have been active over the last 0.5 million years, indicates that nine layers originate from activity of the South Sandwich volcanic arc, three from southern South America, one from the Antarctic Peninsula (Bransfield Strait), and one from West Antarctica (Marie Byrd Land province). The large size of the tephra (up to 50 mum) requires rapid atmospheric transfer from the volcanic centers to East Antarctica. Rapid tropospheric transport from the southwestern Atlantic, penetrating East Antarctica, therefore predominates during the period studied, whether in glacial or interglacial climatic mode. In spite of the low frequency of occurrence of visible tephra layers in Vostok core (one event every 20 kyr), the overall atmospheric pathway of these ash events appears consistent with the almost continuous advection of continental dust from South America.
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Isabelle Basile-Doelsch, Jr Petit, S Touron, Fe Grousset, N Barkov. Volcanic layers in Antarctic (Vostok) ice cores: Source identification and atmospheric implications. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, American Geophysical Union, 2001, 106 (D23), pp.31915-31931. ⟨10.1029/2000JD000102⟩. ⟨hal-00726370⟩

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