Chemical composition of fresh snow from Glaciar Marinelli, Tierra del Fuego, Chile

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A fresh-snow sampling campaign was conducted during the late austral summer of 2006 in the accumulation zone of Glaciar Marinelli, located in the Cordillera Darwin, Tierra del Fuego, Chile. Snow samples were analyzed for stable isotopes (18O), major soluble ions (Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Cl, NO3, SO42–, MS) and major and trace elements (Na, Mg, Al, Fe, Ca, Sr, Cd, Cs, Ba, La, Ce, Pr, Dy, Ho, Er, Bi, U, As, Ti, V, Cr, Mn). The dominance of marine chemistry resembles that in studies from Patagonian glaciers. Snow chemistry was dominantly loaded by marine species (Cl, Na+ and ssSO42–), while contributions of crustal species (e.g. Al and Fe) were very low. Empirical orthogonal function analysis suggests two possible dust sources, one represented by Al and Fe and the other by La, Ce and Pr. Enrichment-factor calculations suggest the majority of elements are within average upper-crustal ratios, but major enrichments of Bi and Cd (hundreds of times) suggest possible anthropogenic sources. Linear correlation of 18O and barometric pressure (r = 0.60, p < 0.007) suggests a potential 'amount effect' relationship between depleted 18O ratios and stronger storm conditions (e.g. greater precipitation). The snow-chemistry records from Glaciar Marinelli are the first measured in Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost glaciated region outside Antarctica.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2009

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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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