Ice record of a 13th century explosive volcanic eruption in northern Victoria Land, East Antarctica

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A volcanic event, represented by both coarse ash and a prominent sulphate peak, has been detected at a depth of 85.82 m in a 90 m ice core drilled at Talos Dome, northern Victoria Land. Accurate dating of the core, based on counting annual sulphate and nitrate fluctuations and on comparison with records of major known volcanic eruptions, indicates that the event occurred in 1254 ± 2 AD. The source volcano is most likely to be located within the Ross Sea region. In particular, the glass shards have a trachytic composition similar to rocks from The Pleiades and Mount Rittmann (Melbourne volcanic province), about 200 km from Talos Dome. Sulphate concentration is comparable with that of violent extra-Antarctic explosive events recorded in the same core, but atmospheric perturbation was short-lived and localized, suggesting a negligible impact on regional climate. It is suggested that this eruption may represent the most important volcanic explosion in the Melbourne province during the last eight centuries; thus this event may also represent a valuable chrono-stratigraphical marker on the East Antarctic plateau and in adjoining areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174 - 181
Number of pages8
JournalAntarctic Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Geology

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