Skip to main content Accessibility help

Late Quaternary distal tephra-fall deposits in lacustrine sediments, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

  • Christian S. de Fontaine (a1), Darrell S. Kaufman (a2), R. Scott Anderson (a3), Al Werner (a4), Christopher F. Waythomas (a5) and Thomas A. Brown (a6)...


Tephra-fall deposits from Cook Inlet volcanoes were detected in sediment cores from Tustumena and Paradox Lakes, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, using magnetic susceptibility and petrography. The ages of tephra layers were estimated using 21 14C ages on macrofossils. Tephras layers are typically fine, gray ash, 1–5 mm thick, and composed of varying proportions of glass shards, pumice, and glass-coated phenocrysts. Of the two lakes, Paradox Lake contained a higher frequency of tephra (0.8 tephra/100 yr; 109 over the 13,200-yr record). The unusually large number of tephra in this lake relative to others previously studied in the area is attributed to the lake's physiography, sedimentology, and limnology. The frequency of ash fall was not constant through the Holocene. In Paradox Lake, tephra layers are absent between ca. 800–2200, 3800–4800, and 9000–10,300 cal yr BP, despite continuously layered lacustrine sediment. In contrast, between 5000 and 9000 cal yr BP, an average of 1.7 tephra layers are present per 100 yr. The peak period of tephra fall (7000–9000 cal yr BP; 2.6 tephra/100 yr) in Paradox Lake is consistent with the increase in volcanism between 7000 and 9000 yr ago recorded in the Greenland ice cores.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Fax: +1 928 523 9220.E-mail address: (D.S. Kaufman)


Hide All
Ager, T.A., Sims, J.D.(1984). Postglacial pollen and tephra records from lakes in the Cook Inlet region, southern Alaska. Conrad, W.L., Elliot, R.L. The United States Geological Survey in Alaska: Accomplishments during 1981 U.S. Geological Survey Circular 868, 103105.
Anderson, R.Y., Nuhfer, E.B., Dean, W.E.(1985). Sinking of volcanic ash in uncompacted sediment in Williams Lake, Washington. Science, 225, 505508.
Anderson, R.S., Hallett, D.J., Berg, E., Jass, R.B., Toney, J.L., de Fontaine, C.S., DeVolder, A.(2006). Holocene development of boreal forest and fire regimes on the Kenai Lowlands of Alaska. The Holocene, 16, 791803.
Begét, J.E., Stihler, S.D., Stone, D.B.("t et al., 1994). A 500-year-long record of tephra falls from Redoubt Volcanoand other volcanoes in upper Cook Inlet, Alaska. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 62, 5567.
Beierle, B., Bond, J.(2002). Density-induced settling of tephra through organic lake sediments. Journal of Paleolimnology, 28, 4 433440.
Bradley, D.C., Wilson, F.H.(1998). Reconnaissance bedrock geology of the southeastern part of the Kenai Quadrangle, Alaska. Kelley, K.D., Gough, L.P. Geologic Studies in Alaska by the U.S. Geological Survey, 1998 U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1615, 5963.
Braitseva, O.A., Melekestsev, I.V., Ponomareva, V.V., Sulerzhitsky, L.D.(1995). Ages of calderas, large explosive craters and active volcanoes in the Kuril–Kamchatka region, Russia. Bulletin of Volcanology, 57, 6 383402.
de Fontaine, C.S. (2003). Late Quaternary distal tephra in lacustrine sediments of the upper Cook Inlet [M.S. thesis]. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.111pp.
Fierstein, J, Hildreth, W.(2000). Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for the Katmai volcanic cluster. Alaska. U. S..Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-489.,
Hancock, J.R., Werner, A.(2002). A Holocene ash-fall reconstruction for Anchorage, Alaska. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 34, 12
Heegaard, E., Birks, H.J.B., Telford, R.J.(2005). Relationships between calibrated ages and depth in stratigraphical sequences: an estimation procedure by mixed-effect regression. The Holocene, 15, 612618.
Kathan, K.M., Werner, A., Kaufman, D.S., de Fontaine, C., Kingsbury, E.M.(2004). Intrabasinal variability of Holocene tephra in a small kettle lake, Lorraine Lake, upper Cook Inlet, Alaska. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs (Northeastern and Southeastern Section Joint Meeting), 36, 2
Lacasse, C. (2001). Influence of climate variability on the atmospheric transport of Icelandic tephra in the subpolar North Atlantic. Global and Planetary Change, 29, 3155.
Lemke, K.J. (2000). Holocene tephrostratigraphy, southern Kenai Peninsula, lower Cook Inlet, Alaska [M.S. thesis]. Utah State University, Logan.96pp.
Lowe, D.J., Hunt, J.B.(2001). A summary of terminology used in tephra related studies. Juvigné, E.T., Raynal, J.-P. Tephras: Chronology, Archaeology. CDERAD éditeur: Goudet, 1, Les Dossiers de l'Archeo-Logis, 1722.
Mason, B.G., Pyle, D.M., Dade, W.B., Jupp, T.(2004). Seasonality of volcanic eruptions. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109, B04206
McGimsey, R.G., Neal, C.A., Riley, C.M.(2001). Areal distribution, thickness, mass, volume, and grain size of tephra-fall deposits from the eruptions of Crater Peak vent, Mt. Spurr Volcano. Alaska. U.S0.Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-370, 32 pp.
Miller, T.P., McGimsey, R.G., Richter, D.H., Riehle, J.R., Nye, C.J., Yount, M.E., Dumoulin, J.A.(1998). Catalog of the historically active volcanoes of Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 98-0582, 104 pp.
Nakada, M., Yokose, H.(1992). Ice age as a trigger of active Quaternary volcanism and tectonism. Tectonophysics, 212, 321329.
Nowaczyk, N.R. (2001). Logging of magnetic susceptibility. Last, W.M., Smol, J.P. Tracking environmental change using lake sediments, Volume 1: Basin analysis, coring, and chronological techniques Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.7597.
Oswald, W.W., Anderson, P.M., Brown, T.A., Brubaker, L.B., Hu, F.S., Lozhkin, A.V., Tinner, W., Kaltenrieder, P.(2005). Effects of sample mass and macrofossil type on radiocarbon dating of arctic and boreal lake sediments. The Holocene, 15, 5 758767.
Pearce, N.J.G., Westgate, J.A., Preece, S.J., Eastwood, W.J., Perkins, W.T.(2004). Identification of Aniakchak (Alaska) tephra in Greenland ice core challenges the 1645 BC date for Minoan eruption of Santorini. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 5, 5 Q03005
Pyne-O'Donnell, S.D.F. (, 2003). The factors affecting distribution and preservation of microtephra particles in late glacial sediments. XVI INQUA Congress Programs with Abstracts 146
Rampino, M.R., Self, S., Fairbridge, R.W.(1979). Can rapid climatic change cause volcanic eruptions?. Science, 206, 826829.
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, F.G., Manning, S.W., 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, 26–0 ka BP. Radiocarbon, 46, 10291058.
Riehle, J.R. (1985). A reconnaissance of the major Holocene tephra deposits in the upper Cook Inlet region, Alaska. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 26, 3774.
Riehle, J.R., Bowers, P.M., Ager, T.A.(1990). The Hayes tephra deposits, an upper Holocene marker horizon in south-central Alaska. Quaternary Research, 33, 276290.
Rymer, M.J., Sims, J.D.(1982). Lake-sediment evidence for the date of deglaciation of the Hidden Lake area, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Geology, 10, 314316.
Sarna-Wojcicki, A.M. (2000). Tephrochronology. Noller, J.S., Sowers, J.M., Lettis, W.R. Quaternary geochronology: methods and applications, vol. 4, American Geophysical Union, AGU Reference Shelf.357377.
Scott, W.E., McGimsey, R.G.(1994). Character, mass, distribution, and origin of tephra-fall deposits of the 1989–1990 eruption of Redoubt Volcano, south-central Alaska. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 62, 251272.
Stone, D.B., Nye, C.J., Stihler, S.D.(1990). Tephra layers and magnetic susceptibility measurements in lake sediments: Cook Inlet volcanism from pre-history to the present. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 71, 1710
Stuiver, M., Reimer, P.J.(1993). Extended 14-C database and revised CALIB 3.0 14-C age calibration program. Radiocarbon, 35, 215230.
Swanson, S.E., Kienle, J.(1988). The 1986 eruption of Mount St. Augustine; field test of a hazard evaluation. Journal of Geophysical Research, 93, 45004520.
Waythomas, C.F., Nye, C.J.(2002). Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Mount Spurr Volcano, Alaska. U.S.. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-482., 40 pp.
Waythomas, C.F., Waitt, R.B.(1998). Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Augustine Volcano, Alaska. U.S.. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-0106., 39 pp.
Waythomas, C.F., Dorava, J.M., Miller, T.P., Neal, C.A., McGimsey, R.G.(1997). Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Redoubt Volcano, Alaska. U.S.. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-857.,
Werner, A., Kathan, K.M., Kaufman, D.S., Hancock, J.R., Waythomas, C.F., Wallace, K.L.(2004). Using kettle lake records to date and interpret Holocene ash deposition in upper Cook Inlet, Anchorage, AK. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 85, 47
Zielinski, G.A. (2000). Use of paleo-records in determining variability within the volcanism–climate system. Quaternary Science Reviews, 19, 417438.
Zielinski, G.A., Mayewski, P.A., Meeker, L.D., Whitlow, S., Twickler, M.S., Morrison, M., Meese, D.A., Gow, A.J., Alley, R.B.(1994). Record of volcanism since 7000 B.C. from the GISP2 Greenland ice core and implications for the volcano–climate system. Science, 264, 948952.
Zielinski, G.A., Mayewski, P.A., Meeker, L.D., Whitlow, S., Twickler, M.S.(1996). A 110,000-yr record of explosive volcanism from the GISP2 (Greenland) ice core. Quaternary Research, 45, 109118.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Late Quaternary distal tephra-fall deposits in lacustrine sediments, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

  • Christian S. de Fontaine (a1), Darrell S. Kaufman (a2), R. Scott Anderson (a3), Al Werner (a4), Christopher F. Waythomas (a5) and Thomas A. Brown (a6)...


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.