Biomass burning recorded in the GISP2 ice core: a record from eastern Canada?


Combustion byproducts from biomass burning are preserved in annually stratified layers in the Greenland ice sheet. Electrical conductivity (ECM) and ammonium records from the GISP2 ice core in central Greenland have been used to develop a 6000-year record of biomass burning. Although there is some uncer tainty regarding the source area for the combustion byproducts, it is likely that the majority of the material originates in eastern Canada. Time periods of high biomass-burning activity occurred in 0-150 BP, 350-750 BP, and 5000 to >6000 BP. The period 1150-3250 BP is characterized by moderately elevated levels of biomass-burning activity. These periods are associated with drier conditions. The 5000 to >6000 BP period of high biomass-burning activity may also be related to forest successional sequences following the removal of the Laurentide ice sheet. This paper explains how ice cores can be used to develop records of biomass burning and offers suggestions for future studies.


Earth Systems Research Center

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The Holocene



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