Last glacial tephra layers in the Talos Dome ice core (peripheral East Antarctic Plateau), with implications for chronostratigraphic correlations and regional volcanic history

Biancamaria Narcisi, Jean Robert Petit, Antonio Langone

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Tephra isochrons offer considerable potential for correlating diverse palaeoarchives and highlighting regional climatic differences. They are especially useful when applied to polar ice records encompassing the last glacial, as these clearly portray the pronounced millennial-scale climate variability that characterised this period. Here we present the continuous record of primary fallout tephra layers in the East Antarctic Talos Dome ice core (72°49′S, 159°11′E), developed upon examination of the core sections spanning the glacial period 16.5 to 71 ka. A total of ca. 45 discrete tephra deposits precisely positioned stratigraphically relative to the temperature record for the core and dated using the AICC2012 timescale, were identified. Quantitative grain size, particle morphology, major and trace element composition using Coulter Counter, SEM, EPMA-WDS, and LA-ICP-MS analytical methods were studied as diagnostic features for tephra characterisation. The tephrostratigraphic framework provides a reference for future precise comparison between ice and sediment sequences across the Antarctic continent. Indeed, several potential markers characterised by distinct volcanic glass geochemistry and/or particular stratigraphic location (e.g., a 17.6-ka ash layer deposited during the well-known major acidity event) are now available for the direct linkage of palaeoclimatic archives. The Talos Dome tephra sequence, dominated by mid-distal pyroclastic products from the nearby Northern Victoria Land volcanoes, also represents the most comprehensive and best time-constrained record of regional Antarctic volcanism yet developed. It documents nearly continuous sustained explosive activity during the considered time interval and, combined with previous ice-core tephra results for the last and the current interglacial periods, suggests progressive compositional shift through time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111 - 126
Number of pages16
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology

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