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Chemical characterisation of a volcanic event (about AD 1500) at Styx Glacier plateau, northern Victoria Land, Antarctica

  • R. Udisti (a1), C. Barbante (a2) (a3), E. Castellano (a4), S. Vermigli (a4), R. Traversi (a4), G. Capodaglio (a2) (a3) and G. Piccardi (a4)...

Abstract

A dark layer (∼1 cm thick, 93.41 m deep) was identified in an ice core (116 m deep, covering the period -1350-1995) drilled at Styx Glacier plateau, northern Victoria Land, Antarctica. The ice-core section was dated around AD 1500 ± 20 by a firn-densification model. A chemical characterisation was performed on ten subsamples (resolution 3 cm) located around the dark layer by ion chromatography. The concentration/depth profiles of anions (Cl-, Br-, NC3-, H2PO4-, SO4 2-), cations (Na+, NH4 +, K+, Mg*+, Ga2^) and some organic anions (acetate, formate, propionate and methanesulphonate (MSA)) indicate very high concentration peaks for all the components. However, non-sea-salt sulphate (nssSo/-) and F- show the greatest increase with respect to background values (370 and 860 times, respectively). A crustal contribution is attributed to Ga2+ and MSA. The profiles of gas-phase emitted substances (HF, HBr, HNOs and carboxylic acid) suggest gas emission just before the volcanic eruption. Chloride depletion is evident in the dark layer with respect to Na+/Cl- sea-water ratio. At present, it is not possible to attribute an unambiguous source to the volcanic event, but several pieces of evidence lead us to believe that this may be a time-limited local event.

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References

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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
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