Skip to main content Accesibility Help

Marine tephrochronology of the Mt. Edgecumbe Volcanic Field, Southeast Alaska, USA

  • Jason A. Addison (a1) (a2), James E. Beget (a1) (a2), Thomas A. Ager (a3) and Bruce P. Finney (a4)

The Mt. Edgecumbe Volcanic Field (MEVF), located on Kruzof Island near Sitka Sound in southeast Alaska, experienced a large multiple-stage eruption during the last glacial maximum (LGM)-Holocene transition that generated a regionally extensive series of compositionally similar rhyolite tephra horizons and a single well-dated dacite (MEd) tephra. Marine sediment cores collected from adjacent basins to the MEVF contain both tephra-fall and pyroclastic flow deposits that consist primarily of rhyolitic tephra and a minor dacitic tephra unit. The recovered dacite tephra correlates with the MEd tephra, whereas many of the rhyolitic tephras correlate with published MEVF rhyolites. Correlations were based on age constraints and major oxide compositions of glass shards. In addition to LGM-Holocene macroscopic tephra units, four marine cryptotephras were also identified. Three of these units appear to be derived from mid-Holocene MEVF activity, while the youngest cryptotephra corresponds well with the White River Ash eruption at ∼ 1147 cal yr BP. Furthermore, the sedimentology of the Sitka Sound marine core EW0408-40JC and high-resolution SWATH bathymetry both suggest that extensive pyroclastic flow deposits associated with the activity that generated the MEd tephra underlie Sitka Sound, and that any future MEVF activity may pose significant risk to local population centers.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. 308 Reichardt Building, AK 99775-5780, USA.E-mail addresses: (J.A. Addison), (J.E. Beget), (T.A. Ager), (B.P. Finney).
Hide All
Barron, J.A., Bukry, D., Dean, W.E., Addison, J.A., Finney, B.P., (2009). Paleoceanography of the Gulf of Alaska during the past 15,000 years: results from diatoms, silicoflagellates, and geochemistry. Marine Micropaleontology 72, 176195.
Beget, J.E., Keskinen, M.J., (2003). Trace-element geochemistry of individual glass shards of the Old Crow tephra and the age of the Delta glaciation, central Alaska. Quaternary Research 60, 6369.
Beget, J.E., Motyka, R.J., (1998). New dates on late Pleistocene dacitic tephra from the Mount Edgecumbe volcanic field, southeastern Alaska. Quaternary Research 49, 123125.
Beget, J.E., Mason, O., Anderson, P., (1992). Age, extent and climatic significance of the c. 3400"BP Aniakchak tephra, western Alaska, USA. Holocene 2, 5156.
Beget, J.E., Stihler, S.D., Stone, D.B., (1994). A 500-year-long record of tephra falls from Redoubt volcano and other volcanos in Upper Cook Inlet, Alaska. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 62, 5567.
Beget, J., Gardner, C., Davis, K., (2008). Volcanic tsunamis and prehistoric cultural transitions in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 176, 377386.
Blockley, S.P.E., Pyne-O'Donnell, S.D.F., Lowe, J.J., Matthews, I.P., Stone, A., Pollard, A.M., Turney, C.S.M., Molyneux, E.G., (2005). A new and less destructive laboratory procedure for the physical separation of distal glass tephra shards from sediments. Quaternary Science Reviews 24, 19521960.
Borchardt, G.A., (1974). The SIMAN coefficient for similarity analysis. Classification Society Bulletin 3, 28.
Borchardt, G.A., Aruscavage, P.J., Millard Jr., H.T., (1972). Correlation of the Bishop Ash, a Pleistocene marker bed, using instrumental neutron activation analysis. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 42, 301306.
Carey, S., Sigurdsson, H., Mandeville, C.W., Bronto, S., (2000). Volcanic hazards from pyroclastic flow discharge into the sea: examples from the 1883 eruption of Krakatau, Indonesia. McCoy, F.W., Heiken, G., Volcanic Hazards and Disasters in Human Antiquity. Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO., 114.
Carey, S., Morelli, D., Sigurdsson, H., Bronto, S., (2001). Tsunami deposits from major explosive eruptions: an example from the 1883 eruption of Krakatau. Geology 29, 347350.
Child, J.K., Beget, J.E., Werner, A., (1998). Three Holocene tephras identified in lacustrine sediment cores from the Wonder Lake area, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA. Arctic and Alpine Research 30, 8995.
Clague, J.J., Evans, S.G., Rampton, V.N., Woodsworth, G.J., (1995). Improved age estimates for the White River and Bridge River tephras, western Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 32, 11721179.
Cole, R.B., DeCelles, P.G., (1991). Subaerial to submarine transitions in early Miocene pyroclastic flow deposits, southern San Joaquin basin, California. Geological Society of America Bulletin 103, 221235.
Davies, S.M., Hoek, W.Z., Bohncke, S.J.P., Lowe, J.J., O'Donnell, S.P., Turney, C.S.M., (2005). Detection of Lateglacial distal tephra layers in the Netherlands. Boreas 34, 123135.
Dixon, E.J., Smith, G.S., (1990). A regional application of tephrochronology in Alaska. Lasca, N.P., Donahue, J., Archaeological Geology of North America. Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO., 383398.
Downes, H., (1985). Evidence for magma heterogeneity in the White River Ash (Yukon Territory). Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 22, 929934.
Eberlein, G.D., Churkin Jr., M., (1970). Tlevak Basalt, west coast of Prince of Wales Island, southeastern Alaska. Cohee, G.V., Bates, R.G., Wright, W.B., Changes in stratigraphic nomenclature by the U.S. Geological Survey, 1968. Geological Survey Bulletin 1294-A. United States Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 2555.
Engstrom, D.R., Hansen, B.C.S., Wright, H.E., (1990). A possible Younger Dryas record in southeastern Alaska. Science 250, 13831385.
Fairbanks, R.G., (1989). A 17,000-year glacio-eustatic sea-level record"influence of glacial melting rates on the Younger Dryas event and deep-ocean circulation. Nature 342, 637642.
Fierstein, J., (2007). Explosive eruptive record in the Katmai region, Alaska Peninsula: an overview. Bulletin of Volcanology 69, 469509.
Fisher, R.V., (1979). Models for pyroclastic surges and pyroclastic flows. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 6, 305318.
Fisher, D.A., Wake, C.P., Kreutz, K., Yalcin, K., Steig, E.J., Mayewski, P.A., Anderson, L., Zheng, J., Rupper, S., Zdanowicz, C., Demuth, M., Waszkiewicz, M., Dahl-Jensen, D., Goto-Azuma, K., Bourgeois, J.B., Koerner, R., Sekerka, J., Osterberg, E.C., Abbott, M.B., Finney, B., Burns, S.J., (2004). Stable isotope records from Mt. Logan, Eclipse ice cores and nearby Jellybean Lake; water cycle of the North Pacific over 2000 years and over five vertical kilometers; sudden shifts and tropical connections. Geographie Physique et Quaternaire 58, 337352.
Freundt, A., (2003). Entrance of hot pyroclastic flows into the sea: experimental observations. Bulletin of Volcanology 65, 144164.
Goldstein, J., Newbury, D.E., Joy, D.C., Lyman, C.E., Echlin, P., Lifshin, E., Sawyer, L.C., Michael, J.R., (2003). Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-ray Microanalysis. Springer Science + Business Media, Inc., New York.
Greene, H.G., O'Connell, V.M., Wakefield, W.W., Brylinsky, C.K., (2007). The offshore Edgecumbe lava field, southeast Alaska: geologic and habitat characterization of a commercial fishing ground. Todd, B.J., Greene, H.G., Mapping the Seafloor for Habitat Characterization. Geological Association of Canada, 277295.
Grewingk, C., (1850). Geology of Alaska and the Northwest Coast of America. The University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks, AK.
Haberle, S.G., Lumley, S.H., (1998). Age and origin of tephras recorded in postglacial lake sediments to the west of the southern Andes, 44"S to 47"S. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 84, 239256.
Hillenbrand, C.D., Moreton, S.G., Caburlotto, A., Pudsey, C.J., Lucchi, R.G., Smellie, J.L., Benetti, S., Grobe, H., Hunt, J.B., Larter, R.D., (2008). Volcanic time-markers for Marine Isotopic Stages 6 and 5 in Southern Ocean sediments and Antarctic ice cores: implications for tephra correlations between palaeoclimatic records. Quaternary Science Reviews 27, 518540.
Le Bas, M.J., Lemaitre, R.W., Streckeisen, A., Zanettin, B., (1986). A chemical classification of volcanic rocks based on the total alkali silica diagram. Journal of Petrology 27, 745750.
Lerbekmo, J.F., (2008). The White River Ash: largest Holocene Plinian tephra. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 45, 693700.
Lowe, D.J., (2008). Globalization of tephrochronology: new views from Australasia. Progress in Physical Geography 32, 311336.
Mashiotta, T.A., Thompson, L.G., Davis, M.E., (2004). The White River Ash: new evidence from the Bona-Churchill ice core record. Eos Trans. AGU 85, Fall Meet. Suppl.,()Abstract PP21A-1369.
McCoy, F.W., Heiken, G., (2000a). The Late-Bronze Age explosive eruption of Thera (Santorini), Greece: regional and local effects. McCoy, F.W., Heiken, G., Volcanic Hazards and Disasters in Human Antiquity. Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO., 4370.
McCoy, F.W., Heiken, G., (2000b). Tsunami generated by the Late Bronze Age eruption of Thera (Santorini). Greece. Pure and Applied Geophysics 157, 12271256.
Miller, T.P., Smith, R.L., (1987). Late Quaternary caldera-forming eruptions in the eastern Aleutian arc, Alaska. Geology 15, 434438.
Neal, C.A., McGimsey, R.G., Miller, T.P., Riehle, J.R., Waythomas, C.F., (2001). Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Aniakchak Volcano, Alaska. US Geological Survey, , Open-File Report. 00-519., Alaska Volcano Observatory, Anchorage, Alaska., 42.
Orton, G.J., (1996). Volcanic environments. Reading, H.G., Sedimentary environments: processes, facies, and stratigraphy. Blackwell Science, Oxford., 485567.
Payne, R., Blackford, J., (2004). Distal tephra deposits in southeast Alaskan peatlands. Emond, D., Lewis, L., Yukon Exploration and Geology 2003. Whitehorse, Canada, Yukon Geological Survey., 191197.
Payne, R., Blackford, J., van der Plicht, J., (2008). Using cryptotephras to extend regional tephrochronologies: an example from southeast Alaska and implications for hazard assessment. Quaternary Research 69, 4255.
Pearce, N.J.G., Bendall, C.A., Westgate, J.A., (2008). Comment on "Some numerical considerations in the geochemical analysis of distal microtephra" by A.M. Pollard, S.P.E. Blockley and C.S. Lane. Applied Geochemistry 23, 13531364.
Pinney, D. S., (1993). "Late Quaternary glacial and volcanic stratigraphy near Windy Creek, Katmai National Park, Alaska.". Unpublished M.S. thesis, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Pinney, D.S., Beget, J.E., (1991). Late Pleistocene volcanic deposits near the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Reger, R.D., Short Notes on Alaskan Geology 1991. State of Alaska, Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Anchorage, AK, 4554.
Pollard, A.M., Blockley, S.P.E., Lane, C.S., (2006). Some numerical considerations in the geochemical analysis of distal microtephra. Applied Geochemistry 21, 16921714.
Reger, R.D., Sturmann, A.G., Berg, E.E., Burns, P.A.C., (2007). A guide to the Late Quaternary history of northern and western Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. State of Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Fairbanks, Alaska., 120.
Reimer, P.J., Baillie, M.G.L., Bard, E., Bayliss, A., Beck, J.W., Bertrand, C.J.H., Blackwell, P.G., Buck, C.E., Burr, G.S., Cutler, K.B., Damon, P.E., Edwards, R.L., Fairbanks, R.G., Friedrich, M., Guilderson, T.P., Hogg, A.G., Hughen, K.A., Kromer, B., McCormac, G., Manning, S., Ramsey, C.B., Reimer, R.W., Remmele, S., Southon, J.R., Stuiver, M., Talamo, S., Taylor, F.W., van der Plicht, J., Weyhenmeyer, C.E., (2004). IntCal04 terrestrial radiocarbon age calibration, 0"26"cal kyr BP. Radiocarbon 46, 10291058.
Riehle, J.R., Brew, D.A., (1984). Explosive latest Pleistocene(?) and Holocene activity of the Mount Edgecumbe volcanic field, Alaska. Reed, K.M., Bartsch-Winkler, S., The United States Geological Survey in Alaska: accomplishments during 1982. 111115.
Riehle, J.R., Brew, D.A., Lanphere, M.A., (1989). Geologic map of the Mount Edgecumbe volcanic field, Kruzof Island, southeastern Alaska. Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map I 1983. U.S. Geological Survey, .
Riehle, J.R., Champion, D.E., Brew, D.A., Lanphere, M.A., (1992a). Pyroclastic deposits of the Mount Edgecumbe volcanic field, southeast Alaska: eruptions of a stratified magma chamber. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 53, 117143.
Riehle, J.R., Mann, D.H., Peteet, D.M., Engstrom, D.R., Brew, D.A., Meyer, C.E., (1992b). The Mount Edgecumbe tephra deposits, a marker horizon in southeastern Alaska near the Pleistocene Holocene boundary. Quaternary Research 37, 183202.
Richter, D.H., Preece, S.J., McGimsey, R.G., Westgate, J.A., (1995). Mount Churchill, Alaska: source of the late Holocene White River Ash. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 32, 741748.
Riehle, J. R, Meyer, C. E, and Miyaoka, R. T., (1999). Data on Holocene tephra (volcanic ash) deposits in the Alaska Peninsula and lower Cook Inlet region of the Aleutian volcanic arc, Alaska. USGS Open-File Report 99-135.
Riehle, J.R., Ager, T.A., Reger, R.D., Pinney, D.S., Kaufman, D.S., (2008). Stratigraphic and compositional complexities of the late Quaternary Lethe tephra in South-central Alaska. Quaternary International 178, 210228.
Robinson, S.D., (2001). Extending the late Holocene White River ash distribution, northwestern Canada. Arctic 54, 157161.
Rosen, G.P., Jaeger, J.M., Stoner, J.S., Channell, J.E.T., (2005). Establishing the temporal resolution of high-latitude paleoclimatic and paleomagnetic signals in bioturbated Gulf of Alaska continental margin sediments. Eos Trans AGU 86, abstract H51G-0446.
Shane, P., Nairn, I.A., Martin, S.B., Smith, V.C., (2008). Compositional heterogeneity in tephra deposits resulting from the eruption of multiple magma bodies: Implications for tephrochronology. Quaternary International 178, 4453.
(1993). Shipboard Science Party. Site 887. Rea, D.K., Basov, I.A., Janecek, T.R., Palmer-Julson, A., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports. Ocean Drilling Program, College Station, TX., 335391.
Sikes, E.L., Samson, C.R., Guilderson, T.P., Howard, W.R., (2000). Old radiocarbon ages in the southwest Pacific Ocean during the last glacial period and deglaciation. Nature 405, 555559.
Stoner, J.S., Jennings, A., Kristjansdottir, G.B., Dunhill, G., Andrews, J.T., Hardardottir, J., (2007). A paleomagnetic approach toward refining Holocene radiocarbon-based chronologies: paleoceanographic records from the north Iceland (MD99-2269) and east Greenland (MD99-2322) margins. Paleoceanography 22, 10.1029/2006PA001285.
Stuiver, M., Reimer, P.J., (1993). Extended 14C data base and revised CALIB 3.0 radiocarbon age calibration program. Radiocarbon 35, 137189.
Telford, R.J., Heegaard, E., Birks, H.J.B., (2004). All age"depth models are wrong: but how badly?. Quaternary Science Reviews 23, 15.
Turney, C.S.M., Harkness, D.D., Lowe, J.J., (1997). The use of microtephra horizons to correlate late-glacial lake sediment successions in Scotland. Journal of Quaternary Science 12, 525531.
Walinsky, S.E., Prahl, F.G., Mix, A.C., Finney, B.P., Jaeger, J.M., Rosen, G.P., (2009). Distribution and composition of organic matter in surface sediments of coastal southeast Alaska. Continental Shelf Research 29, 15651579.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed