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An anomalous atmospheric dust deposition event over Central Europe, 24 March 2007, and fingerprinting of the SE Ukrainian source
Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 83, issue 2; pages: 175 - 206; Received 25 November 2007; Accepted in revised form 25 February 2008;
Keywords: dust, atmospheric deposition event, sedimentology, rheology, grain-size modality, pattern formation, geochemistry, lead isotopes, pollen and spores, eolian flux, climate change, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Europe, Recent/Holocene,
AbstractAn anomalous event of Ukrainian quartz-dominated dust deposited in the Czech Republic and adjacent countries on 24 March 2007 was studied with special emphasis on sedimentology, mineralogy and geochemistry. The dust deposition combined a typical eolian depositional mode with one mediated by dirty rain or drizzle. The main stage of sediment deposition was short (several tens of minutes) and synchronous with rapidly increased concentration of particles smaller than 10 µm in the atmosphere above ground. The polydisperse and multimodal sediment consisted predominantly of angular to subrounded quartz particles, of which 80-90 wt.% were silt sized (4-63 µm). A small amount of sand grains up to 0.5 mm in size was regularly observed (?10 wt.%) and was higher than that of particles smaller than 4 µm. This relatively coarse material was transported by atmospheric flows over distances of 1400 to 2000 km. The deposited silt film was fenestrally arranged and showed various reticulate and patchy patterns of several sizes. The intensity of deposition in the main deposition areas corresponded to 2.3 g/m2 of particulate solids on average. The interpreted depositional processes are based on direct observation and dust microphysics. Besides the preferentially entrained and delivered quartz, the sediment contains also perthitic feldspar, chlorite and chloritoids, and notably low amounts of mica, clay minerals and carbonate. The element content does not contradict the supposed source based on meteorological observations, i.e., from surface argillaceous and sandy soils east of Kherson, Ukraine. Particularly minor and trace element distributions are almost identical and show a nearly perfect match, closely similar to those of standards for the upper crust (not sediments). Total Fe concentrations in the sediment are about 2-3 wt.%, i.e., slightly less than those for the upper continental crust on average, yet with a large proportion of iron still bound in mineral inclusions in quartz and silicates. Smooth REE patterns correspond to the most common multi-cycle eolian material and are typical for the assumed source area. Lead isotope signatures combine a natural lithic imprint and anthropogenic contamination by petrol combustion, thereby giving a somewhat different trend compared to African sources. Palynological analysis enabled tracking of the trajectory of the dust-flow but also identified typical markers, such as ragweed pollen, from the source area.
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