Possible Icelandic Tephra Found in European Colle Gnifetti Glacier

Luongo, M. T.; Kurbatov, A. V.; Erhardt, T.; Mayewski, P. A.; McCormick, M.; More, A. F.; Spaulding, N. E.; Wheatley, S. D.; Yates, M. G.; Bohleber, P. D. (2017). Possible Icelandic Tephra Found in European Colle Gnifetti Glacier. Geochemistry, geophysics, geosystems, 18(11), pp. 3904-3909. American Geophysical Union AGU 10.1002/2017GC007022

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Volcanic ash (tephra) provides unique time markers (isochrons) that are often used as an independent age-control tool for stratigraphic correlations of paleoclimate archives from ice cores. However, little credence has been given to the notion of finding tephra in ice cores collected in the European Alps because of the relatively large distance from volcanic sources and the presumed nature of regional atmospheric circulation patterns. We filtered particles from melted ice core drilling chips gathered roughly every meter during a 2013 drilling operation at Colle Gnifetti glacier in the Swiss-Italian Alps (45°55.74'N, 7°52.58'E, 4450 m asl). One filter, preliminarily dated to the nineteenth century by annual layer counting, contained a group of six visually similar tephra particles. Analyzing their chemistry using a scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometer established that the six particles were volcanic in origin and are very similar in composition (a distinctive geochemical signature), pointing to a single volcanic eruption source. We proposed that one of several massive nineteenth century Eastern Icelandic eruptions is a potential source given eruption timing, size, tephra dispersion area, and similarities in chemical composition. This first finding of tephra in an Alpine ice core contributes to a regional tephrochronological framework that can be adapted for future correlation among different paleoclimate sequences.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Erhardt, T.

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics

ISSN:

1525-2027

Publisher:

American Geophysical Union AGU

Language:

English

Submitter:

Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

19 Apr 2018 13:04

Last Modified:

19 Apr 2018 13:04

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/2017GC007022

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.112655

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/112655

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