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Age of some Pleistocene interglacial beds and associated fossils in eastern Beringia defined by fission tracks in glass shards of Chester Bluff tephra

  • John A. Westgate (a1) and Nicholas J.G. Pearce (a2)


Application of the glass fission-track dating method to Chester Bluff tephra (CBt), exposed in loess deposits at Chester Bluff along the Yukon River in east-central Alaska, has clarified the age of the immediately underlying fossiliferous interglacial bed. Surprise Creek tephra (SZt), at site CRH47 in the northern Old Crow basin of the Yukon Territory, is a correlative of CBt so that the new age information on CBt can also be applied to the interglacial sediments below SZt. Two independent age determinations were obtained on CBt, 243±28 ka and 249±26 ka, giving a weighted mean age and error of 246±19 ka. Therefore, the closely associated interglacial bed belongs to the early part of Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 7. The stratigraphy and paleoenvironmental setting of SZt show that deposition of the tephra occurred soon after interglacial conditions, when the climate became colder, probably between MIS 7.5 and 7.4, that is, slightly younger than the mean fission-track age, but within the 1σ uncertainty. This result tightly constrains the age of the rich mammalian faunal assemblage found at and just below SZt at the CRH47 site.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author at: Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3B1, Canada. E-mail address: (J.A. Westgate).


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