A New Micro-Analytical Technique for the Identification of Tephra Layers in Sediments
2008 (English)Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Tephrochronology uses material emitted during volcanic eruptions as isochronous markers for linking paleoclimatic records. Cryptotephra (i.e., those tephra not visible to the naked eye) layers can be as little as one to two shards thick while the shards themselves can be smaller than 10 m. The methods used to locate cryptotephra are often time consuming and laborious (e.g., sieving and point counting, density separation techniques) and in some cases may not be applicable (e.g., magnetic susceptibility of tephra may not differ from the sediment). XRF is a well-established analytical tool that has recently taken a new direction with the introduction of core scanning systems. The ITRAX XRF core scanning system is non-destructive, can acquire continuous data for a broad range of elements in situ in both marine and lacustrine sediments as well as take radiographic images. We test the possibility of screening sediment cores to flag the potential location of cryptotephra layers thereby eliminating lengthy laboratory work and saving on often precious sample. The method was tested by seeding a sediment core with tephra shards in layers of increasing thickness and then scanning the core with the ITRAX. The method was then further tested on sequences from two different sites: Hässeldala Port in Southern Sweden where up to 5 different cryptotephra have been detected and Lake Pechora from Russia which has several visible tephra layers. We show that using the ITRAX it is possible to locate most tephra layers without using any sample and within a minimal amount of time (a 1 m core can be analyzed reasonably in 12 hours and it requires essentially no sample preparation).
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16874OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-16874DiVA: diva2:183394
American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting 2008, San Francisco, USA2008-12-302008-12-30Bibliographically approved