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.


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Authors: Ruth, Urs, Barbante, Carlo, Bigler, Matthias, Delmonte, Barbara, Fischer, Hubertus, Gabrielli, Paolo, Gaspari, Vania, Kaufmann, Patrik, Lambert, Fabrice, Maggi, Valter, Marino, Federica, Petit, Jean-Robert, Udisti, Roberto, Wagenbach, Dietmar, Wegner, Anna, Wolff, Eric W.

On this site: Eric Wolff
1 January, 2008
Environmental Science & Technology / 42
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