Proxies and measurement techniques for mineral dust in Antarctic ice cores
To improve quantitative interpretation of ice core aeolian dust records, a systematic methodological comparison was made. This involved methods for water-insoluble particle counting (Coulter counter and laser-sensing particle detector), soluble ion analysis (ion chromatography and continuous flow analysis), elemental analysis (inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy at pH 1 and after full acid digestion), and water insoluble elemental analysis (proton induced X-ray emission). Antarctic ice core samples covering the last deglaciation from the EPICA Dome C (EDC) and the EPICA Dronning Maud Land (EDML) cores were used. All methods correlate very well among each other, but the ratios of glacial age to Holocene concentrations, which are typically a factor similar to 100, differ between the methods by up to a factor of 2 with insoluble particles showing the largest variability. The recovery of ICP-MS measurements depends on the digestion method and is different for different elements and during different climatic periods. EDC and EDML samples have similar dust composition, which suggests a common dust source or a common mixture of sources for the two sites. The analyzed samples further reveal a change of dust composition during the last deglaciation.