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Spatio-temporal variability in volcanic sulphate deposition over the past 2 kyr in snow pits and firn cores from Amundsenisen, Antarctica

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In the framework of the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), a comprehensive glaciological pre-site survey has been carried out on Amundsenisen, Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica, in the past decade. Within this survey, four intermediate-depth ice cores and 13 snow pits were analyzed for their ionic composition and interpreted with respect to the spatial and temporal variability of volcanic sulphate deposition. The comparison of the non-sea-salt (nss)-sulphate peaks that are related to the well-known eruptions of Pinatubo and Cerro Hudson in AD 1991 revealed sulphate depositions of comparable size (15.8 ± 3.4 kg km−2) in 11 snow pits. There is a tendency to higher annual concentrations for smaller snow-accumulation rates. The combination of seasonal sodium and annually resolved nss-sulphate records allowed the establishment of a time-scale derived by annual-layer counting over the last 2000 years and thus a detailed chronology of annual volcanic sulphate deposition. Using a robust outlier detection algorithm, 49 volcanic eruptions were identified between AD 165 and 1997. The dating uncertainty is ±3 years between AD 1997 and 1601, around ±5 years between AD 1601 and 1257, and increasing to ±24 years at AD 165, improving the accuracy of the volcanic chronology during the penultimate millennium considerably.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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