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Iceberg-rafted tephra as a potential tool for the reconstruction of ice-sheet processes and ocean surface circulation in the glacial North Atlantic

By
Marion Kuhs
Marion Kuhs
1
School of Geography & Geosciences, University of St Andrews, North Street, St Andrews KY16 9LA, UK
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William E. N. Austin
William E. N. Austin
1
School of Geography & Geosciences, University of St Andrews, North Street, St Andrews KY16 9LA, UK
2
Scottish Association of Marine Sciences, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, PA37 1QA, UK
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Peter M. Abbott
Peter M. Abbott
3
Department of Geography, College of Science, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
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David A. Hodell
David A. Hodell
4
Godwin Laboratory for Paleoclimate Research, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EQ, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2014

Abstract

Ice-rafted tephra deposits, of Marine Isotope Stage 6 (MIS 6) age, from Site U 1304 on the Gardar Drift, North Atlantic were examined for their shard size distribution and major element composition. The heterogeneous composition, large shard sizes and association with ice-rafted debris (IRD) indicate that these late MIS 6 deposits were transported by iceberg-rafting from Iceland to Site U 1304. Comparison of individual shard geochemistry with the geochemistry of Holocene volcanic systems from Iceland allows the identification of different potential volcanic source regions. This detailed geochemical analysis, when combined with Icelandic Ice Sheet (IIS) flow models for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), suggests that the IIS had calving margins to both the north and south during the late MIS 6 and that icebergs could have been transported to the Site U 1304 by following surface ocean circulation patterns similar to those that prevailed during the LGM. We demonstrate that the descriptive concept of Icelandic glass in the characterization of tephra components within North Atlantic IRD can be significantly improved through quantitative characterization and that such data hold the potential to help constrain surface ocean circulation models, while also potentially yielding new information about the IIS during earlier glacial periods.

Supplementary material:

Statistical tests, major element concentrations of analysed shards, primary and secondary standards are available at http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18716

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Marine Tephrochronology

W. E. N. Austin
W. E. N. Austin
University of St Andrews, UK
The Scottish Association for Marine Science, UK
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P. M. Abbott
P. M. Abbott
Swansea University, UK
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S. M. Davies
S. M. Davies
Swansea University, UK
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N. J. G. Pearce
N. J. G. Pearce
Aberystwyth University, UK
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S. Wastegård
S. Wastegård
Stockholm University, Sweden
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Geological Society of London
Volume
398
ISBN electronic:
9781862396746
Publication date:
January 01, 2014

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