Data Set ID:

Blue Ice Tephra II - Brimstone Peak, Version 1

This data set is the result of a study of volcanic ash and rock fragment (tephra) layers in exposed blue ice areas on Brimstone Peak (75.888S 158.55E) in East Antarctica. Tephra samples were collected between 15 November 1996 and 15 January 1997.

The Antarctic ice sheets preserve a record of the volcanic ash layers and chemical aerosol signatures of local and distant volcanic eruptions. Correlation of individual tephra layers, or sets of layers, in blue ice areas will allow a better understanding of the geometry of ice flow in these areas. Tephra layers in deep ice cores can also provide unique time-stratigraphic markers in cores that are difficult to date.

Data include the following information for each sample site: a general description, electron microprobe analysis, GPS location, neutron activation analysis, and a visual description of the petrography.Data are provided as Excel 97 data files, JPG map files, and GIF-formatted BSE images.

NSIDC does not archive these data.

  • Ice Core Records > ICE CORE RECORDS
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Ice Sheets > ICE SHEETS
  • Ice Core Records > Volcanic Deposits > VOLCANIC DEPOSITS
Data Format(s):
  • GIF
  • JPEG
  • Excel
Spatial Coverage:
N: -75.86, 
S: -75.9, 
E: 158.67, 
W: 158.55
Spatial Resolution:Not SpecifiedSensor(s):CORING DEVICES
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 January 1996 to 31 December 1997
Temporal ResolutionNot specifiedMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):Nelia Dunbar

Geographic Coverage

Please contact the data provider for the correct Data Citation for this data set.

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Detailed Data Description

Format and File Sizes
  • bit*.gif: Backscattered electron images of blue ice tephra samples (See Derived Images, GIF format, 1.2 MB)
  • brimstone.xls: Differential GPS locations of tephra layers (Excel 97 format, 80 KB). Columns include:
    • Sample number
    • Location (Brimstone)
    • Station number
    • Latitude (degrees South)
    • Longitude (degrees East)
    • Elevation (m)
  • Text files (derived from the Excel file):
    • gps.txt - Differential GPS locations of tephra layers
    • elect_micro.txt - Electron microprobe analyses of individual tephra shards
    • petrography.txt - Petrography of the tephra samples
    • neutron.txt - Neutron activation analyses of tephra
    • general.txt - General field descriptions, plus strikes and dips of tephra layers
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Spatial Coverage

Blue ice tephra samples were collected from Brimstone Peak, Antarctica (75.9°S, 158.5°E).

Study Area Location Map

Mt. Brimstone map

See Dunbar's sampling location maps.

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Temporal Coverage

Data were collected between 15 November 1996 and 15 January 1997.

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Software and Tools

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Because of their ease of access and sampling, blue ice areas offer an alternative to deep ice cores in the reconstruction of regional and possible global volcanic records. Dunbar sampled and mapped volcanic ash (tephra) layers in exposed bare blue ice areas on Brimstone Peak, Antarctica. She processed backscatter electron images of tephra samples with a Cameca SX-100 microprobe.

Notes on the neutron activation analysis:

  • INAA was performed on separated samples at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology after having undergone irradiation at the University of Missouri Research Reactor.
  • Irradiation took place for approximately 40 hours at a flux of 2.5x1013N cm-2 s-1.
  • Analytical errors, based on replicate analysis of samples, to 1 sigma, are as follows for major element: FeO ± 0.01 wt%; Na2O ± 0.04 wt%, and for trace elements (in ppm), Sc±0.04, Cr±12, Co±0.13, Ni±1, Zn±1, As±0.7, Br±0.07, Rb±0.8, Sr±0.7, Sb±0.1, Cs±1.4, Ba±10, La±1.8, Ce±1.4, Nd±0.7, Sm±0.07, Eu±0.14, Tb±0.02, Yb±0.07, Lu±0.01, Hf±0.12, Ta±0.04, Ta±0.04, W±0.05, U±0.02, Th±1.

Notes on the electron microprobe analysis:

  • Analyses are made using a Cameca SX-100 electon microprobe. Geochemical quantities are in weight %. Analyses are normalized to 100 wt.%, and Na2O is normalized to the value obtained by neutron activation analysis. Analytical precision, based on replicate analyses of standard reference materials of similar composition to the unknows, are as follows (all in wt.%): SiO2±0.47, TiO2±0.03, FeO±0.06, MnO±0.06, MgO±0.07, CaO±0.02, Na2O±0.55, K2O±0.27, P2O5±0.02, Cl±0.07.
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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Nelia Dunbar
New Mexico Bureau of Mines & Mineral Resources
Earth and Environmental Science Department
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Socorro, NM, USA


This research was supported by NSF grant OPP-9527373 ("Collaborative Research: Volcanic Record in Antarctic Ice: Implications for Climatic and Eruptive History and Ice Sheet Dynamics of the South Polar Region").

Document Information


October 2002

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