A tephrochronologic method based on apatite trace-element chemistry

Bryan Keith Sell, Scott Douglas Samson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Geochemical correlation of ash-fall beds with conventional tephrochronologic methods is not feasible when original glass composition is altered. Thus, alternative correlation methods may be required. Initial studies of heavily altered Paleozoic tephra (K-bentonites) have suggested the potential for employing trace-element concentrations in apatite as ash-fall bed discriminators. To further test the utility of apatite trace-element tephrochronology, we analyzed apatite phenocrysts from unaltered volcanic rocks with an electron microprobe: nine samples from rocks erupted during the Quaternary and one sample from a rock erupted during the Paleogene. The resulting apatite trace-element data provide unique bed discriminators despite within-crystal variability. Each of the volcanic rocks studied possesses unique trends in Mg, Cl, Mn, Fe, Ce and Y concentrations in apatite. The results from this study establish an important tephrochronologic method that can be applied to nearly all portions of the Phanerozoic stratigraphic record and greatly assist development of an advanced timescale. In addition to establishing a fingerprint for a particular eruption, apatite chemistry provides useful information about the source magma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-166
Number of pages10
JournalQuaternary Research
Volume76
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011

Keywords

  • Apatite
  • Bentonite
  • Electron microprobe
  • Tephrochronology
  • Trace elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A tephrochronologic method based on apatite trace-element chemistry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this