As part of a geochemical study of the Commonwealth Glacier in Taylor Valley, Antarctica, two 3-meter snow pits were dug in the accumulation zone and analyzed for major ions by ion chromatography. This dataset shows the mean annual atmospheric flux of chloride, sulfate, nitrate, and calcium to the Commonwealth Glacier. Determination of the atmospheric flux of these ions to the glacier surface aids in assessing the chemical composition of precipitation to the McMurdo Dry Valleys and the role of glaciers in the geochemical cycles of the region.
Blood Falls, a subglacial discharge from the Taylor Glacier, Antarctica provides an example of the diverse physical and chemical habitats available for life in the polar desert of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Geochemical analysis shows that Blood Falls outflow resembles concentrated seawater remnant from the Pliocene intrusion of marine waters combined with products of weathering. The result is an iron-rich, salty seep at the terminus of Taylor Glacier, which is subject to episodic releases into permanently ice-covered Lake Bonney.