Holocene tephrochronology of the Cold Bay area, southwest Alaska Peninsula

Quaternary Science Reviews
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The major-element glass geochemistry of 92 tephra samples from the southwest Alaska Peninsula provides the basis for establishing a Holocene tephrochronology for the region. Electron microprobe analysis has been combined with field descriptions of samples, stratigraphic relationships between tephra samples and sample localities, and glass shard micro-morphology to correlate these sampled distal tephra units throughout the area of Cold Bay and adjacent Morzhovoi Bay. Radiocarbon dating provides age constraints on correlated horizons. Previous research had clearly delineated only one horizon in the region, the so-called 'Funk/Fisher' ash, dating to between 8425 ± 350 and 9130 ± 140 14C yr BP. In addition to constraining the bimodal andesitic and dacitic glass chemistry of that horizon, this study has recognized six additional tephra layers in the area. Two horizons pre-date the Funk/Fisher ash and four are younger than it. A tephra containing dacitic and andesitic components was identified in the vicinity of Morzhovoi Bay, with a minimum age of 9300 ± 80 14C yr BP and a maximum age of 10,200 ± 75 14C yr BP. A rhyolitic horizon composed of cm-sized, rounded pumice clasts was identified in the vicinity of Cold Bay; it has been correlated to the ca 9500 BP eruption of Roundtop volcano on Unimak Island. The four younger tephra beds date to between 6070 ± 340 and 3600 ± 140 14C yr BP. The oldest of the four is rhyodacitic, followed by a mixed rhyodacitic-andesitic horizon, another rhyodacitic horizon, and finally an andesitic layer. Comparison of all the correlated horizons to proximal samples collected on Unimak Island provides conclusive geochemical evidence that the ca 9100 BP Caldera-forming eruption of Fisher volcano is the source of the Funk/Fisher ash. Correlation between the rhyodacitic tephra horizons and proximal samples from Fisher volcano suggests that Fisher Caldera is the source of one of the rhyodacitic tephra horizons that post-dates the Funk/Fisher ash. Additional tephra samples from the southwest Alaska Peninsula and Unimak Island that were collected prior to this study correlate to the tephra horizons identified in the Cold Bay area and identify one additional horizon.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Holocene tephrochronology of the Cold Bay area, southwest Alaska Peninsula
Series title Quaternary Science Reviews
DOI 10.1016/S0277-3791(02)00023-9
Volume 21
Issue 20-22
Year Published 2002
Language English
Description 16 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Quaternary Science Reviews
First page 2213
Last page 2228
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