A Holocene Record of Atmospheric Dust Deposition on the Penny Ice Cap, Baffin Island, Canada


An >11,550-yr-long record of atmospheric dust deposition was developed from an ice core (P95) drilled through the Penny ice cap, Baffin Island. The P95 record documents environmental changes that affected the production and transport of dust in the eastern Canadian Arctic during the late Pleistocene and Holocene. Dust deposition on the Penny ice cap was greatest in late-glacial time when the climate was dry and windy and comparatively low in the Holocene. Microparticles deposited during late-glacial time are finer than in Greenland cores, suggesting distinct dust sources and transport trajectories to each region. Dust deposition at the P95 site increased after ca. 7800 yr ago as the Penny ice cap receded and distance from local dust sources was reduced. Deflation of newly exposed marine sediments on southwestern Baffin Island may have contributed to this dust increase. The P95 and GISP2 (Greenland) dust records show diverging trends in the middle to late Holocene, reflecting the growing influence of regional environmental conditions (e.g., dust source area, snow cover extent) on atmospheric dust deposition. This study further demonstrates how valuable records of regional-scale paleoenvironmental changes can be developed from small circum-Arctic ice caps, even those affected by considerable melt.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Quaternary Research



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Copyright © 2000 University of Washington. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.