Surface glaciochemistry of Taylor Valley, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica and its relationship to stream chemistry



We have analysed a series of surface samples from the alpine glaciers of Taylor Valley, Southern Victoria Land, Antarctica for their geochemical composition. This was done to better establish the role of glaciochemical variation on the chemical composition of meltwater streams emanating from the glaciers. The chemistry of the snow and ice changes with proximity to the ocean and with elevation of the glacier surface. The aeolian transport of dry valley dust, as indicated by both chemical and particulate matter variations, is a major process affecting the overall glacier chemistry and the chemistry of the meltwaters. Streams originating on the western edges of the glaciers are more impacted by the aeolian input as they are in the direct path of the major regional wind direction. Our data strongly suggest that the variation in stream geochemistry in Taylor Valley is a result in part of the differences in chemical composition of glacier melt. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.