Articles | Volume 8, issue 1
Research article
19 Jan 2012
Research article |  | 19 Jan 2012

Change in dust variability in the Atlantic sector of Antarctica at the end of the last deglaciation

A. Wegner, P. Gabrielli, D. Wilhelms-Dick, U. Ruth, M. Kriews, P. De Deckker, C. Barbante, G. Cozzi, B. Delmonte, and H. Fischer

Abstract. We present a Rare Earth Elements (REE) record determined on the EPICA ice core drilled at Dronning Maud Land (EDML) in the Atlantic sector of the East Antarctic Plateau. The record covers the transition from the last glacial stage (LGS) to the early Holocene (26 600–7500 yr BP) at decadal to centennial resolution. Additionally, samples from potential source areas (PSAs) for Antarctic dust were analyzed for their REE characteristics. The dust provenance is discussed by comparing the REE fingerprints in the ice core and the PSA samples. We find a shift in variability in REE composition at ~15 000 yr BP in the ice core samples. Before 15 000 yr BP, the dust composition is very uniform and its provenance was most certainly dominated by a South American source. After 15 000 yr BP, multiple sources such as Australia and New Zealand become relatively more important, although South America remains the major dust source. A similar change in the dust characteristics was observed in the EPICA Dome C ice core at around ~15 000 yr BP, accompanied by a shift in the REE composition, thus suggesting a change of atmospheric circulation in the Southern Hemisphere.