Antarctic Science


Precipitation trapped in datable rock-forming minerals: estimating Antarctic palaeoelevations - a discussion

Anke S. Wendt a1p1, Alan P.M. Vaughan a1 and Adrian J. Boyce a2
a1 British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
a2 Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, Isotope Geosciences Unit, East Kilbride, Glasgow G75 0QF, UK

Article author query
wendt as   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
vaughan apm   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
boyce aj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Meteoric water that interacted with minerals during retrogressive metamorphism and hydrothermalism in the late-stage of mountain building processes contains hydrogen and oxygen isotopes that are potential proxies for palaeoelevation reconstruction in Antarctica. The effects of temperature on meteoric isotopic signatures, meteoric crustal infiltration processes, and the mechanisms of capture and preservation of meteoric δD and δ18O values in rock-forming minerals are discussed. Special emphasis is given to Antarctica’s geographical high-latitude position and climatic fluctuations over time and to the highmountain ranges of continental Antarctica, which were tectonically active regions in the past. In this context, a new compilation of recent Antarctic snow and ice δD and δ18O data is presented, by which we demonstrate that net elevations versus isotopic depletions are positively correlated for continental Antarctica - a prime requisite when estimating palaeoelevations.

(Received November 22 2004)
(Accepted September 26 2005)

Key Words: hydrogen and oxygen isotopes; isotope fractionation; meteoric water; isotopic depletion of precipitation versus elevation.

p1 current address: Data & Consulting Services, Geomechanics, Schlumberger, PO Box 8013, N-4068 Stavanger, Norway