Diatoms at >5000 Meters in the Quelccaya Summit Dome Glacier, Peru
Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Brinson, Bruce E.; Billups, W.E.; Thompson, Lonnie G.
Diatoms were found in late Holocene age ice-core samples recovered from the Quelccaya Summit Dome in the tropical Andes of Peru and were imaged by environmental scanning electron microscopy and identified. Freshwater diatoms in the genera Hantzschia, Pinnularia, and Aulacoseira were the most common taxa in the samples and indicate a freshwater source for the material, which also is suggested by the presence of the freshwater alga Volvox. The overall species composition of the diatoms suggests that the majority of taxa originated from a high-elevation lake or wetland in the cordillera surrounding the ice cap. The abundant diatom valves, up to 70 µm in size, likely were transported to the ice via wind.