Documentation for Sulfate-Based Volcanic Record from South Pole Ice Core, Version 1

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Detailed Data Description

The goal of this project was to analyze shallow (~150 m) ice cores from South Pole to construct an annually resolved, sulfate-based volcanic record covering the last 1400 years. Two shallow ice cores were recovered at the South Pole during the 2000/2001 field season.

Volcanic records from polar ice cores provide valuable information for studies of the connection between volcanism and climate. The information from these records can verify the volcanic events found in the few existing Antarctic records and resolve discrepancies in the timing and magnitude of major explosive eruptions determined from those earlier records.


Data are provided in a Microsoft Excel file and as an ASCII text file.

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Spatial Coverage


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Temporal Coverage

Temporal coverage is from 905 A.D. to 2000 A.D.

Temporal Resolution

Data are given in yearly increments.

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Parameter or Variable

This study measures the chemical species, ions, and volcanic deposits in the ice cores.

Parameter Description

Unit of Measurement

Concentrations are given in both microequivalent per liter (ueq/l) and microgram per liter (ug/l) or ppb.

Parameter Range

Information (identification, depth) and data for each sample are presented in the same row.

The following table describes the columns in the data file. Note that concentrations for each element are given first in microequivalent per liter (ueq/l) and then in microgram per liter (ug/l) or ppb.

Column Description
Sample# The number assigned to a sample.
Year Start The start of the year sampled.
Year-# Where there are multiple samples in a year, this is the number of sample within the given year.
Depth WEQ M (TOP) Water equivalent at the top of the sample
Depth WEQ M (Mid) Water equivalent at the midpoint of the sample
Size cm Size (in cm) of the sample.
Depth (TOP) M Depth at the top of the sample in meters
Depth (MIDDLE) M Depth at the middle of the sample in meters
Density (MIDDLE) kg/cm3
MSA Methane sulfonic acid or Methanesulphonate
Cl Chlorine
NO3 Nitrate
SO4 Sulfate ion
Na Sodium
NH4 Ammonium chloride
K Potassium
Mg Magnesium
Ca Calcium
Na/Cl Sodium chloride

Sample Data Record

The following sample is taken from the data file:

Sample# Year Start Year-# Depth WEQ M (TOP) Depth WEQ M (Mid) Size cm Depth (TOP) M Depth
(MID) kg/cm3
MSA ueq/l Cl ueq/l NO3 ueq/l SO4 ueq/l Na ueq/l NH4 ueq/l K ueq/l Mg ueq/l Ca ueq/l Na/Cl ueq/l MSA ug/l NO3 ug/l
T001-1 2000 2000-1 0.0000 0.0185 11.00 0.57 0.63 3.36E-04 0.072 0.860 4.797 0.900 0.502 0.230 0.120 0.232 0.567 0.584 6.81 297.44
T001-2 2000-2 0.0369 0.0504 8.00 0.68 0.72 3.37E-04 0.173 1.043 1.878 0.551 0.445 0.118 0.040 0.270 0.327 0.427 16.42 116.43
T001-3 2000-3 0.0639 0.0775 8.00 0.76 0.80 3.39E-04 0.251 0.584 1.801 0.492 0.320 0.055 0.019 0.238 0.370 0.548 23.84 111.64
T001-4 2000-4 0.0910 0.1016 6.25 0.84 0.87 3.40E-04 0.112 1.296 1.870 0.669 0.505 0.171 0.021 0.291 0.328 0.390 10.69 115.97
T001-5 2000-5 0.1122 0.1229 6.25 0.90 0.93 3.41E-04 0.102 0.932 1.975 0.722 0.864 0.324 0.269 0.363 0.595 0.927 9.69 122.44
T001-6 1999 1999-1 0.1335 0.1442 6.25 0.97 1.00 3.42E-04 0.593 0.829 2.111 0.646 0.209 0.530 0.017 0.328 0.239 0.253 56.41 130.87
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Error Sources

A few samples were contaminated. Concentration data fields are left blank for contaminated samples.

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Software and Tools

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Data Acquisition Methods

Discrete or individual ice core samples were cut lengthwise from the 120 m core and analyzed for ion concentrations by ion chromatography.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Jihong Cole-Dai
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
South Dakota State University


This work was accomplished under the National Science Federation (NSF) grant # 0087151.

Document Information


January 2004