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Fe2+ in ice cores as a new potential proxy to detect past volcanic eruptions

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Burgay François, Erhardt Tobias, Lunga Damiano Della, Jensen Camilla Marie, Spolaor Andrea, Vallelonga Paul, Fischer Hubertus, Barbante Carlo,
Project iceCP-TOF: ultrahigh-resolution records in ice core research using novel Inductively Coupled Plasma - Time Of Flight - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-TOF-MS)
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Science of The Total Environment
Volume (Issue) 654
Page(s) 1110 - 1117
Title of proceedings Science of The Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.075


Volcanic eruptions are widely used in ice core science to date or synchronize ice cores. Volcanoes emit large amounts of SO2 that is subsequently converted in the atmosphere into sulfuric acid/sulphate. Its discrete and continuous quantification is currently used to determine the ice layers impacted by volcanic emissions, but available high-resolution sulphate quantification methods in ice core (Continuous Flow Analysis (CFA)) struggle with insufficient sensitivity.Here,we present a newhigh-resolution CFA chemiluminescence method for the continuous determination of Fe2+ species in ice cores that shows clear Fe2+ peaks concurrent with volcanic sulphate peaks in the ice core record. The method, applied on a Greenland ice core, correctly identifies all volcanic eruptions from between 1588 to 1611 and from 1777 to 1850. The method has a detection limit of 5 pg g−1 and a quadratic polynomial calibration range of up to at least 1760 pg g−1. Our results show that Fe2+ is a suitable proxy for identifying past volcanic events.