Proportions of trace metals in Antarctic ice samples indicate that the type of volcanoes that dominated atmospheric emissions changed at about the middle of the Holocene from relatively mafic, deep source volcanoes to more silicic, shallower-source volcanoes. We base this inference on the strong contrast in the abundances of the trace metal indium (In), relative to other trace metals present in ice, deposited at different times in the past, and on contrasting In abundances in modern emissions of volcanoes of different types. Indium is more abundant in the emissions of deep-source mafic volcanoes than in more felsic, shallower-source volcanoes. Earlier workers have shown, on the basis of petrologic and some meteoritic evidence, that In may be partitioned to the interiors (stony mantles) of differentiated planets, or enriched in the liquids of partly crystallized mafic melts.
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Mid-Holocene change in types of degassing volcanoes, using indium in Antarctic ice as a tracer of volcanic source type