Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Jihong Cole-Dai


Antarctic sulfate aerosols, ice cores, volcanic eruptions, volcanic record


Snow accumulation at the polar regions of the planet preserves chemical substances from the atmosphere creating natural archives. Records of the atmospheric environment including atmospheric chemical composition and the climate can be reconstructed from ice cores from the polar ice sheets. Sulfur emitted by explosive volcanic eruptions is preserved as sulfate in polar snow and can be used to reconstruct the record of volcanic eruptions. Since large volcanic eruptions impact the environment and climate, records of volcanic eruptions from ice cores can help us to study and understand climate change and model the future climate environment. A 1750-m ice core was drilled at the South Pole (SPC14), and major ion analysis was performed via capillary ion chromatography on ice samples. The sulfate data was then used to create a new 11,000-year record of volcanic eruptions from this ice core: the 2022 SPICEcore Volcanic Record, SPVR2022. While other Antarctic ice core records exist, this is the first detailed and quantitative record from a South Pole ice core covering the entire Holocene period (last 11 ka years). The objectives of this dissertation project were: 1) the detection and extraction of signals representing volcanic eruptions from the sulfate data to create SPVR2022, and 2) investigation of the similarities and differences between SPVR2022 and other Antarctic ice core volcanic records, including event frequency, statistical analysis, and relative flux of volcanic sulfate. SPVR2022 shows the number of events within the last 2000 years are similar to that in the high-resolution volcanic record (WHV2020) from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide ice core. No apparent trend is seen in the frequency of events during the Holocene period in SPVR2022, and no statistical difference in the frequency of events in each millennium is found between SPVR2022 and WHV2020. The ten largest events in SPVR2022 show similarities and differences to the ten largest events in WHV2020. Differences may be attributed to different glaciological environments such as snow accumulation rate and elevation, or to atmospheric transport processes such as the polar vortex. Understanding why these differences exist will be beneficial to the understanding the volcano-climate connection.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ice cores -- South Pole -- Analysis.
Volcanic eruptions -- History.
Atmospheric aerosols -- Polar regions.
Sulfates -- Analysis.
Volcanism and climate.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright