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The Eyjafjallajökull AD 2010 eruption and the preservation of medium-sized eruptions in marine surface sediment offshore southern Iceland

  • Christina Bonanati (a1), Heidi Wehrmann (a1), Maxim Portnyagin (a1) and Kaj Hoernle (a1) (a2)

The recent volcanic eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull 2010 and Grímsvötn 2011 demonstrated the risks that mediumsized explosive Icelandic eruptions pose to the North Atlantic region. Using the Eyjafjallajökull 2010 eruption as a case study, we assess how traceable such eruptions are in the marine sedimentary record at medial distances from the source and investigate which factors have affected the particle transport to the marine sedimentary archive. During R/V Poseidon cruise 457, we recovered 13 box cores at 100–1600 m water depths and distances of 18–180 km southwest, south, and east of Iceland. Volcanic glass shards from the uppermost surface sediment were analyzed for their major element composition by electron microprobe and assigned to their eruptive source by geochemical fingerprinting. The predominantly basaltic particles are mostly derived from the Katla, Grímsvötn-Lakagígar, and Bárðarbunga-Veiðivötn volcanic systems. We also identified rhyolitic particles from the Askja 1875 and Öræfajökull 1362 eruptions. Only three out of almost 900 analyzed glass shards are derived from the recent Eyjafjallajökull 2010 eruption, suggesting that medium-sized eruptions are only poorly preserved in marine sediments located at medial distances southwest to east of Iceland. We conclude that the frequency of past medium-sized eruptions is likely higher than detectable in this archive.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author at: GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Wischhofstr. 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany. E-mail address: (C. Bonanati).
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