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Dust provenance in Pan-third pole modern glacierized regions: What is the regional source?

Du, Zhiheng, Xiao, Cunde, Wang, Yuzhe, Liu, Shiwei, Li, Shutong
Environmental pollution 2019 v.250 pp. 762-772
altitude, dust, glaciers, ice, isotopes, lead, melting, mountains, provenance, rocks, wind, China
To differentiate the source of aeolian dust between the desert sources from Pan-third pole and high mountain glaciers, therefore, we investigated the spatial variability of aeolian dust sources in the Pan-third polar region. The question of whether such changes reflect variable transport pathways from a unique source in the western China area was addressed. That is, the SrNd radiogenic isotope composition of modern desert samples do not support the hypothesis of a single dust provenance at higher elevation mountain glaciers by long-distance transport; regional sources also play a significant role. Based on previous studies and the data from this study, the five isotopic regions were divided, which are controlled by the geological characteristics in western China. The results suggest that mineral dust deposited into the high-mountain glaciers originated from the free ice region because of glacier melting and the physical and chemical erosion of rocks from the surrounding mountains by local wind systems. The Pb isotopic data further demonstrated that natural dust is the source of Pb for the high-mountain glaciers of Pan-third pole. These results provide an exhaustive documentation of the isotopic signature of the regional dust reaching the glacier regions.