Received: 10 Jan 2012 – Accepted for review: 14 Feb 2012 – Discussion started: 28 Feb 2012
Abstract. Alpine glacier samples were collected in four contrasting regions to measure supraglacial dust and debris geochemical composition and quantify regional variability. A total of 70 surface glacier ice, snow and debris samples were collected in Svalbard, southern Norway, Nepal and New Zealand. Trace elemental abundances in snow and ice samples were measured via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Supraglacial debris mineral, bulk oxide and trace element composition were determined via X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF). A total of 45 major, trace and rare earth elements and 10 oxide compound abundances are reported. Elemental abundances revealed sea salt aerosol and metal enrichment in Svalbard, low levels of crustal dust and marine influences to southern Norway, high crustal dust and anthropogenic enrichment in the Khumbu Himalayas, and sulfur and metals attributed to quiescent degassing and volcanic activity in northern New Zealand. Rare earth element and Al/Ti elemental ratios demonstrated distinct provenance of particulates in each study region. Ca/S elemental ratio data showed seasonal denudation in Svalbard and southern Norway. Ablation season atmospheric particulate transport trajectories were mapped in each of the study regions and suggest provenance pathways. The in situ data presented provides first-order glacier surface geochemical variability as measured in the four diverse alpine glacier regions. The surface glacier geochemical data set is available from the PANGAEA database at doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.773951. This geochemical surface glacier data is relevant to glaciologic ablation rate understanding as well as satellite atmospheric and land-surface mapping techniques currently in development.
How to cite: Casey, K. A.: Supraglacial dust and debris: geochemical compositions from glaciers in Svalbard, southern Norway, Nepal and New Zealand, Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss., 5, 107–145, https://doi.org/10.5194/essdd-5-107-2012, 2012.