The Itrax and organic rich sediments: Tephrochronologyand humification
2010 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Holocene records of climate change can be derived from organic rich sediments such as peats (with organic contents >99%) and gyttja rich lake sediments. While the performance of the Itrax is generally negatively affected by higher organic matter contents, we are currently developing two separate Itrax applications for such sediments.
Tephras are an important part of establishing good chronologies for Holocene sequences. Tephras can vary in thickness from a few centimeters to a few shards thick. Finding crypotephra (i.e., those tephra not visible to the naked eye) is a time consuming process involving tedious sub-sampling and density separations. In order to improve the efficiency of tephra extraction we are developing a method to ‘screen’ sediment cores for tephra. Using small step sizes (<1 mm), we identify areas where changes in the sample matrix (signaled through changes in the mean standard error) and elemental chemistry suggest the possible presence of tephra. These ‘target depths’ are then sub-sampled at a higher resolution (1 cm vs. 5 cm) for tephra extraction. To date we have tested three different sites and shard counts made at target depths shows that the Itrax can successfully locate both rhyolitic and basaltic tephra layers. In those cores with visible tephra, we are also testing the possibility of using major element concentrations from Itrax scans to make preliminary identifications of tephra layers through their elemental fingerprints. The Itrax generated plots are tested for accuracy by comparing them against conventional electron microprobe analyses of traditionally extracted tephra shards.
Humification analyses reflect the level of decomposition of an organic deposit which in itself signals changes in evaporation/precipitation and temperature regimes, and by extension, paleo-climate. At present humification is measured through leaching of samples and the use of a colorimeter. We are developing the use of the Itrax to capture major changes in humification by using the ratio of coherent to incoherent scattering.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Research subject Analytical Chemistry
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-53092OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-53092DiVA: diva2:389816
Itrax Conference, Lipari, Italy