Dusts in snow from the accumulation zone in the St. Elias Range appear from their chemical compositions to have come from terranes of rocks of ferromagnesian composition. These dusts, with respect to their composition and to the moderate degree of variation that occurs through a depositional year, are similar those deposited in Greenland. The high portion of the St. Elias Range is isolated from dominance by any local dust source terranes, because of altitude and the extent of the surrounding glacierized and snow-covered region. In Greenland the altitude is typically lower, but local sources are even less likely to dominate the character of the dusts deposited into the ice record there. The similar compositions and moderate compositional variations of dusts from these two places bear on the question of whether the dusts that are transported over long distances by the atmosphere under modern and glacial-period conditions are uniform and representative of a broad regional or even hemispheric background dust. The dusts in the snow were measured by means of a suite of major, minor, and trace rock-forming metals chosen to give information about rock types, their constituent minerals, degree of degradation (weathering), and energies of atmospheric uptake from source. The variations in amounts of rock dust through the year in the St. Elias Range snowpack have no time-stratigraphic correspondence to the also large variations in concentrations of other species that are not constituents of rock-derived dusts, such the anions chloride, sulfate, and nitrate; the highs and lows of the two types of materials are apparently completely independent. The structure revealed by the moderately fine-scale sampling of the present study (??? 10 increments/y) serves as a background for the interpretation of analysis of ice core samples, in which annual layers may be too compressed to permit analysis of sub-annual samples. ?? 1994.
Additional publication details
Composition and sources of atmospheric dusts in snow at 3200 meters in the St. Elias Range, southeastern Alaska, USA