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Andean geology

versión On-line ISSN 0718-7106


KRAUS, Stefan; KURBATOV, Andrei  y  YATES, Martin. Geochemical signatures of tephras from Quaternary Antarctic Peninsula volcanoes. AndGeo [online]. 2013, vol.40, n.1, pp.1-40. ISSN 0718-7106.

In the northern Antarctic Peninsula area, at least 12 Late Plelstocene-Holocene volcanic centers could be potential sources of tephra layers in the region. We present unique geochemical fingerprints for ten of these volcanoes using major, trace, rare earth element, and isotope data from 95 samples of tephra and other eruption products. The volcanoes have predominantly basaltic and basaltic andesitic compositions. The Nb/Y ratio proves useful to distinguish between volcanic centers located on the eastern (Larsen Rift) and those situated on the western side (Bransfield Rift) of the Antarctic Peninsula. In addition, the Sr/Nb ratio (for samples with SiO2 <63 wt%), along with Sr/Y, Ba/La, Zr/Hf and Th/Nb are suitable to unequivocally characterize material erupted from every studied volcanic center. Microprobe analyses on volcanic glass show that the samples are generally very poor in K2O, and that glass from Bransfield Rift volcanoes is enriched in SiO2, while that of Larsen Rift volcanoes tends towards elevated alkali contents. We propose an algorithm for the identification of the source volcano of a given tephra layer using the new geochemical fingerprints. This will contribute to the development of a regional tephrochronological framework needed for future correlations of tephra in climate archives (e.g., marine, lacustrine and ice cores).

Palabras clave : Late Pleistocene; Holocene; Explosive volcanism; Tephra; Source volcano identification; Geochemical fingerprint; Antarctic Peninsula; Bransfield Rift; Larsen Rift.

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