Proxies and measurement techniques for mineral dust in Antarctic ice cores

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Ruth, U. , Barbante, C. , Bigler, M. , Delmonte, B. , Fischer, H. , Gabrielli, P. , Gaspari, V. , Kaufmann, P. , Lambert, F. , Maggi, V. , Marino, F. , Petit, J. R. , Steffensen, J. P. , Udisti, R. , Wagenbach, D. , Wegner, A. and Wolff, E. (2008): Proxies and measurement techniques for mineral dust in Antarctic ice cores , Environmental Science and Technology 2008, 42, 5675-5681, doi 10.1021/es703078z.. .
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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 amongst each other, but the ratios of glacial age to Holocene concentrations, which are typically a factor ~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 analysed samples further reveal a change of dust composition during the last deglaciation.

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