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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Environmental Science & Technology
Volume (Issue) 53(22)
Page(s) 13275 - 13283
Title of proceedings Environmental Science & Technology

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


Continuous flow analysis (CFA) has become widely used for the measurement of aerosol-derived impurities in ice-core samples, resulting in high-resolution data sets of past aerosol deposition. Here, we present first results from coupling an inductively coupled plasma time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOFMS) to a traditional CFA system. This setup enables the measurement of exactly coregistered elemental concentrations over the full mass range without degradation of sensitivity with an increasing number of analytes. The resulting total elemental concentration records have similar or better resolution than the established spectrophotometric methods. The unique capability of a TOFMS to measure fast transient signals and to still cover the full mass range furthermore enables the detection of the ionization of individual insoluble particles entering the plasma. The resulting mass spectra of the particles can be used to investigate the relative elemental composition of the mineral dust particles preserved in ice. The presented analysis of iron-bearing particles indicates that most of the particulate iron in Greenland ice is associated with Mg and Al and is likely part of clay minerals such as illite.