Ukrainian Antarctic Journal

No 3 (2005): Ukrainian Antarctic Journal

Origin of Atmospheric Hydrocarbons and Sulfur-Containing Impurities in the glacier of Galindez Island, Vernadsky

V. Bogillo
Institute of geological sciences of NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv
R. Borhers
Max Planck Institute for Aeronomy, Katlenburg-Lindau
M. Bazylevska
Institute of geological sciences of NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv
Published December 15, 2005
  • Antarctic glacier,
  • atmospheric hydrocarbons and sulfur-containing impurities,
  • past Antarctic atmosphere
How to Cite
Bogillo, V., Borhers, R., & Bazylevska, M. (2005). Origin of Atmospheric Hydrocarbons and Sulfur-Containing Impurities in the glacier of Galindez Island, Vernadsky. Ukrainian Antarctic Journal, (3), 67-74.


The hydrocarbons and sulfur-containing have a great impact on the chemistry of the troposphere, stratosphere and radiation balance. To study the content of the hydrocarbons and sulfur-containing compounds in the ancient Earth’ atmosphere, their analysis in blocks of ice along the profile of the coastal Antarctic glacier (Galindez Island, Vernadsky) has been performed. Many of the alkanes, alkenes and alkynes as well as COS, CS2, CH3SCH3 ,CH3SSCH3 and thiophene derivatives have been identified in an upper layer of the glacier. The temporal variations of  CH2=CHCH3, COS, CS2, CH3SCH3 and CH3SSCH3 in the ancient layers of the glacier were studied. All these compounds demonstrate high enrichment factors in comparison with their present atmospheric level. This indicates on their natural origin. The mechanisms of their formation in course of biochemical and abiotic reactions were discussed. It was shown that the propene had been formed during photolysis of organic matter which deposited onto upper snow layer by mechanism of Norrish II type reaction. Similar mechanism throughout intermediate reaction with hydroxyl radical can be proposed for formation of COS and CS2 from this organic matter. Contrary to these species, the appearance of great amount of CH3SCH3 and CH3SSCH3 in upper layer of the glacier has been explained by the biochemical reactions of ice microalgaes and coastal oceanic macroalgaes, and by subsequent reactions of dimethylsulfoniopropionate with halide ions, which formed from these algaes. As has been expected, additional reason for appearance of great amount of these compounds in the ice samples is their dissolution in melted water and their percolation with this water into more deep layers of the snow and firn, and repeating of the melting-freezing cycles. 


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