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Characteristics and Possible Source of a 1479 A.D. Volcanic Ash Layer in a Greenland Ice Core

  • R. Joseph Fiacco (a1), Julie M. Palais (a1) (a2), Mark S. Germani (a3), Gregory A. Zielinski (a1) and Paul A. Mayewski (a1)...

A microparticle concentration peak in a GISP2 ice core contains volcanic glass shards of rhyolitic composition that correspond in age to the 1479-1480 A.D. Mt. St. Helens Wn eruption. These glass shards are compositionally similar to the Wn tephra and constitute 83% of the total particle population. The shards are very coarse-grained (up to 40 μm diameter), suggesting rapid transport from their source to Greenland. A major sulfate peak in the ice occurs approximately 4 months after deposition of the glass shards. This difference in depositional timing suggests primarily tropospheric transport of the ash and stratospheric transport of the sulfate aerosol. Large-scale climatic perturbations following this eruption were evidently negligible. Glaciochemical seasonal indicators suggest a late-fall to early-winter 1479 A.D. eruption.

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J. M.Palais , and H.Sigurdsson (1989). Petrologic evidence of volatile emissions from major historic and pre-historic volcanic eruptions. In “Understanding Climate Change.” (A.Berger R. E.Dickinson , and J. W.Kidson , Eds.), pp. 3153. A.G.U, Monograph 52.

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
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