Tephrochronology : Methodology and correlations, Antarctic Peninsula Area

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för ekologi, miljö och geovetenskap

Abstract:

Abstract

Methods for tephrochronology are evaluated, in the following way: Lake sediments <500 years old from three small Antarctic lakes were analysed for identification of tephras. Subsamples were analysed for a) grain size, and identification and concentration of volcanogenic grains, b) identification of tephra horizons, c) element abundance by EPMA WDS/EDS and LA-ICP-MS, and d) possible correlations between lakes and volcanoes.

Volcanogenic minerals and shards were found all through the sediment cores in all three lakes, in different abundances. A high background population of volcanogenic mineral grains, in all samples, made the identification of tephra horizons difficult, and shards could only be distinguished by certainty after chemical analysis of elements. The tephra layers commonly could not be seen by the naked eye, and, hence they are regarded as cryptotephras. Because of the small size of recent eruptions in the research area, and the travel distance of ash, most shards are small and difficult to analyse.

Nine possible tephra horizons have been recorded in the three lakes, and preliminary correlations have been made. But because of analytical problems, the proposed correlations between the lakes and possible volcanic sources are preliminary.

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