University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG) > Cryptotephrochronology in the North Atlantic Region: Linking North Atlantic Marine Sediments to the Greenland ice-cores

Cryptotephrochronology in the North Atlantic Region: Linking North Atlantic Marine Sediments to the Greenland ice-cores

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Tephrochronology is a powerful technique that can be utilised for the correlation and synchronisation of disparate palaeoclimatic records from different depositional environments. Thus, this technique has considerable potential for addressing key questions relating to rapid climatic events that characterised the last glacial period. In particular, our search for microscopic tephra layers or cryptotephras within the Greenland ice-cores and marine cores from the North Atlantic Ocean has the potential to test the phase relationships between the atmospheric and oceanic responses to these high-magnitude and abrupt climatic events. Tephrochronological investigations are currently being undertaken on a network of marine cores from a range of locations and depositional settings within the North Atlantic as part of the ERC -funded project Tephra constraints on Rapid Climate Events (TRACE). Tephra horizons have been identified in the marine records through the successful use of cryptotephra extraction techniques more commonly applied to the study of terrestrial sequences. The two main challenges associated with cryptotephra work in the glacial North Atlantic are i) determining the dominant transportation processes and ii) assessing the influence of secondary reworking processes and the integrity of the isochrons. The potential influence of these processes is investigated by assessing shard size, geochemical (major and trace element) heterogeneity and co-variance of IRD input for some cores. We are also applying the innovative techniques of micromorphology and X-ray tomography to the study of these processes. Early comparison of the tephrochronological record of cores within the network highlight a number of potential marine to ice linkages and the potential for these to allow an assessment of the relative timing of climatic changes between the ocean and atmosphere will be discussed.

This talk is part of the Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG) series.

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