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, 8 (1), 17279

The Timing and Widespread Effects of the Largest Holocene Volcanic Eruption in Antarctica

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The Timing and Widespread Effects of the Largest Holocene Volcanic Eruption in Antarctica

Dermot Antoniades et al. Sci Rep.

Abstract

The caldera collapse of Deception Island Volcano, Antarctica, was comparable in scale to some of the largest eruptions on Earth over the last several millennia. Despite its magnitude and potential for far-reaching environmental effects, the age of this event has never been established, with estimates ranging from the late Pleistocene to 3370 years before present. Here we analyse nearby lake sediments in which we identify a singular event produced by Deception Island's caldera collapse that occurred 3980 ± 125 calibrated years before present. The erupted tephra record the distinct geochemical composition of ejecta from the caldera-forming eruption, whilst an extreme seismic episode is recorded by lake sediments immediately overlying the collapse tephra. The newly constrained caldera collapse is now the largest volcanic eruption confirmed in Antarctica during the Holocene. An examination of palaeorecords reveals evidence in marine and lacustrine sediments for contemporaneous seismicity around the Antarctic Peninsula; synchronous glaciochemical volcanic signatures also record the eruption in ice cores spread around Antarctica, reaching >4600 km from source. The widespread footprint suggests that this eruption would have had significant climatic and ecological effects across a vast area of the south polar region.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing interests.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Location map showing (A) Deception Island, Byers Peninsula and the Antarctic Peninsula; and (B) sites across Antarctica where the Deception Island caldera collapse event is recorded by tephra and/or rapid post-seismic sediment deposition in ice, lake and marine sediment cores. The key for numbered studies can be found in Supplementary Table S3, along with information about how each was linked to the caldera collapse event. Figure 1 was generated with CorelDRAW X3 (www.coreldraw.com) using a Shape file downloaded from the Antarctic Digital Database freely available at http://www.add.scar.org/.
Figure 2
Figure 2
(A) Map of Deception Island showing the general geology and outcrop locations of the Outer Coast Tuff Formation (OCTF) (modified from ref.); (B) Image of the Vapour Col succession illustrating the contact between the OCTF and post-caldera deposits; (C) Detail of OCTF deposits on Deception Island; (D) detail of Tephra T3 from Byers Peninsula (Lake Limnopolar, core LIM08_F2B), with alternating organic and mineral sedimentation below T3 and rapid, massive sediment above; note the coarseness of the tephra. (A) was generated with QGIS v. 2.18 Las Palmas (available at www.qgis.org) using Shape files and a Digital Elevation Model obtained from the SIMAC geodatabase (described in ref.). Pictures B and C were taken by A.Geyer and published before in ref.. The final layout of this figure was achieved using Adobe Illustrator CC 2015.3.1 (Copyright © 1987–2016 Adobe Systems Incorporated and its licensors).
Figure 3
Figure 3
Composite image showing sediment cores from four Byers Peninsula lakes with radiocarbon and thermoluminescence ages (see refs, and Supplementary Table 1). Note that the cores are arranged to align the top of the rapid post-seismic depositional unit of varying thickness, interpreted as a mass-wasting deposit, which interrupts the laminated, moss-rich, lacustrine sedimentation in each lake.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Glass and bulk rock magma composition of Deception Island’s pre-, post- and syn-caldera (OCTF) juvenile fragments. (A) Total Alkali vs. Silica diagram (TAS). Major elements are normalized to 100% (anhydrous) with Fe distributed between FeO and Fe2O3 following ref.. The grey dashed line discriminates between the alkaline-subalkaline fields. (B) Major element vs. SiO2 content Harker Diagrams. Major element compositions have been normalized to 100% in anhydrous base with Fe as FeOt. See Supplementary Information File 2 for details on composition and exact latitude-longitude coordinates of the rock samples. This figure was generated with RStudio Version 1.0.143 (https://www.rstudio.com/) using ggplot2 Version 2.1.9000. Final layout of this figure was achieved using Adobe Illustrator CC 2015.3.1 (Copyright © 1987–2016 Adobe Systems Incorporated and its licensors).
Figure 5
Figure 5
T3 glass compositions plotted over glass and bulk rock magma composition of Deception Island’s pre-, post- and syn-caldera (OCTF) juvenile fragments. (A) Total Alkali vs. Silica diagram (TAS). Major elements are normalized to 100% (anhydrous) with Fe distributed between FeO and Fe2O3 following ref.. The grey dashed line discriminates between the alkaline-subalkaline fields. (B) Major element vs. SiO2 content Harker Diagrams. Major element compositions have been normalized to 100% in anhydrous base with Fe as FeOt. See Supplementary Information File 2 for details on composition and exact latitude-longitude coordinates of the rock samples. This figure was generated with RStudio Version 1.0.143 (https://www.rstudio.com/) using ggplot2 Version 2.1.9000. Final layout of this figure was achieved using Adobe Illustrator CC 2015.3.1 (Copyright © 1987–2016 Adobe Systems Incorporated and its licensors).
Figure 6
Figure 6
Sediment organic geochemical variables in Lake Escondido, Byers Peninsula. The shaded gray area represents the portion of the record with rapid terrestrial sedimentation. TOC, TN and δ15N all differ significantly (p < 0.05) between event sediments and those deposited during the pre- and post-event periods.

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