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A fine-grained, up to 3-m-thick tephra bed in southwestern Saskatchewan, herein named Duncairn tephra (Dt), is derived from an early Pleistocene eruption in the Jemez Mountains volcanic field of New Mexico, requiring a trajectory of northward tephra dispersal of ~1500 km. An unusually low CaO content in its glass shards denies a source in the closer Yellowstone and Heise volcanic fields, whereas a Pleistocene tephra bed (LSMt) in the La Sal Mountains of Utah has a very similar glass chemistry to that of the Dt, supporting a more southerly source. Comprehensive characterization of these two distal tephra beds along with samples collected near the Valles caldera in New Mexico, including grain size, mineral assemblage, major- and trace-element composition of glass and minerals, paleomagnetism, and fission-track dating, justify this correlation. Two glass populations each exist in the Dt and LSMt. The proximal correlative of Dt1 is the plinian Tsankawi Pumice and co-ignimbritic ash of the first ignimbrite (Qbt1g) of the 1.24 Ma Tshirege Member of the Bandelier Tuff. The correlative of Dt2 and LSMt is the co-ignimbritic ash of Qbt2. Mixing of Dt1 and Dt2 probably occurred during northward transport in a jet stream.
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.
The age of the Sheep Creek tephra (SCt), a widespread marker ash bed in eastern Alaska and western Yukon Territory, has been ambiguous and controversial. We have obtained three reliable thermoluminescence age estimates from bracketing loess near Fairbanks that imply a deposition age of about 190,000 ± 20,000 yr for SCt. Three of six loess samples near and closely bracketing the SCt beds near Fairbanks yielded younger age estimates (∼117,000 and ∼135,000 yr), most likely (based on field aspects) because of reworking and contamination by translocated grains. The new, reliable age assignment of 190,000 yr confirms independent stratigraphic evidence of a pre-last interglaciation age, and stratigraphic evidence from one site (Upper Eva Creek) that SCt is older than the more-widespread 140,000-yr-old Old Crow tephra. The SCt age also has implications for regional correlations of glacial and nonglacial deposits. In particular, it supports the stratigraphic and geomorphic interpretation that the Delta Glaciation in the east-central Alaska Range and the Reid Glaciation in western Yukon Territory are older than the last interglaciation (isotope substage 5e).
Determination of the area density of spontaneous fission tracks (ρs) in glass shards of Toba tephra is a reliable way to distinguish between the Youngest Toba Tuff (YTT) and the Oldest Toba Tuff (OTT). The ρs values for YTT, uncorrected for partial track fading, range from 70 to 181 tracks/cm2 with a weighted mean of 108 ± 5 tracks/cm2, based on 15 samples. Corrected ρs values for YTT are in the range of 77–140 tracks/cm2 with a weighted mean of 113 ± 8 tracks/cm2, within the range of uncorrected ρs values. No significant difference in ρs exists between YTT samples collected from marine and continental depositional settings. The uncorrected ρs for OTT is 1567 ± 114 tracks/cm2 so that confusion with YTT is unlikely.
The ρs values of the Toba tephra at Bori, Morgaon, and Gandhigram in northwestern India indicate a YTT identity, in agreement with geochemical data on their glass shards, the presence of multiple glass populations, and a glass fission-track age determination. Therefore, the view of others that OTT is present at these sites – and thereby indicates an early Pleistocene age for the associated Acheulean artifacts – is incorrect.
The late Cenozoic deposits of central Yukon contain numerous distal tephra beds, derived from vents in the Wrangell Mountains and Aleutian arc–Alaska Peninsula region. We use a few of these tephra beds to gain a better understanding on the timing of extensive Pleistocene glaciations that affected this area. Exposures at Fort Selkirk show that the Cordilleran Ice Sheet advanced close to the outer limit of glaciation about 1.5 myr ago. At the Midnight Dome Terrace, near Dawson City, exposed outwash gravel, aeolian sand, and loess, related to valley glaciers in the adjacent Ogilvie Mountains, are of the same age. Reid glacial deposits at Ash Bend on the Stewart River are older than oxygen isotope stage (OIS) 6 and likely of OIS 8 age, that is, about 250,000 yr B.P. Supporting evidence for this chronology comes from major peaks in the rates of terrigeneous sediment input into the Gulf of Alaska at 1.5 and 0.25 myr B.P.
New geochemical data on tephra samples from a layer present at several archeological sites in India support correlation of this layer to the Youngest Toba Tuff, erupted from northern Sumatra about 74,000 yr ago. The data show that the Indian tephra layer is not a correlative of older tephra erupted from Toba, as has been suggested on the basis of artifact assemblages. Previously published geochemical data on the Indian tephra beds was based on bulk ash samples containing mineral and clay contaminants, and the resulting variability in analyses did not allow identification or discrimination of individual eruptive events. Our new data were collected on individual glass shards and small, purified glass separates which have greater resolving power in fingerprinting. Acheulian and Paleolithic artifacts found at some of the Indian tephra sites do not reflect the antiquity of the tephra bed, as they occur in fluvial sediments and may be reworked.
A controversy currently exists regarding the number of Toba eruptive events represented in the tephra occurrences across peninsular India. Some claim the presence of a single bed, the 75,000-yr-old Toba tephra; others argue that dating and archaeological evidence suggest the presence of earlier Toba tephra. Resolution of this issue was sought through detailed geochemical analyses of a comprehensive suite of samples, allowing comparison of the Indian samples to those from the Toba caldera in northern Sumatra, Malaysia, and importantly, the sedimentary core at ODP Site 758 in the Indian Ocean—a core that contains several of the earlier Toba tephra beds. In addition, two samples of Toba tephra from western India were dated by the fission-track method. The results unequivocally demonstrate that all the presently known Toba tephra occurrences in peninsular India belong to the 75,000 yr B.P. Toba eruption. Hence, this tephra bed can be used as an effective tool in the correlation and dating of late Quaternary sedimentary sequences across India and it can no longer be used in support of a middle Pleistocene age for associated Acheulian artifacts.
Rodent middens from ice-rich loess deposits are important new paleoenvironmental archives for Eastern Beringia. Plant macrofossils recovered from three middens associated with Dawson tephra (ca. 24,000 14C yr B.P.) at two sites in Yukon Territory include diverse graminoids, forbs, and mosses. These data suggest substantial local scale floristic and habitat diversity in valley settings, including steppe-tundra on well-drained soils, moist streamside meadows, and hydric habitats. Fossil arctic ground squirrel burrows and nesting sites indicate that permafrost active layers were thicker during Pleistocene glacial periods than at present on north-facing slopes.
The Dawson Cut Forest Bed lies in the lower part of thick, late Cenozoic loess deposits in the Fairbanks area. It is associated with several distal tephra beds that provide age control and offer the opportunity of its recognition elsewhere in central Alaska. EC tephra (named herein) occurs in the uppermost part of the Dawson Cut Forest Bed and its petrographic and chemical properties point to a co-magmatic relationship with PA tephra, which has not been found in direct association with the forest bed. Both tephra beds are pink and have unusually high Cl in their glass shards, which readily separates them from all other tephra beds in the Fairbanks area. They were produced by discrete eruptions, closely spaced in time. PA tephra has a glass-fission-track age of 2.02 ± 0.14 myr, indicating that the Dawson Cut Forest Bed must be about 2 million years old. The Palisades tephra (named herein) has very similar properties to these two tephra beds, suggesting that the buried forest bed just above it at the Palisades site on the Yukon River, about 250 km west of Fairbanks, correlates with the Dawson Cut Forest Bed.
Larval caddisfly, chironomid, and beetle remains have been recovered from the Pleistocene Scarborough Formation in the Toronto region of southern Ontario. Three stratigraphic levels were sampled at the northeastern end of the Scarborough Bluffs; the youngest horizon yielded 16 chironomid taxa, 33 caddisfly taxa, and 28 beetle taxa, whereas the two older levels yielded somewhat less diverse assemblages. Only one taxon in each of the caddisfly and chironomid groups was identified from the presumed correlative beds at Woodbridge, Ontario, but numerous beetle fragments were recovered, several of which have been specifically identified and match species found previously in the upper part of the Scarborough Formation. The youngest sampled assemblage in the Scarborough Formation at the northeastern end of the Scarborough Bluffs is interpreted as indicating cool climatic conditions in a boreal forest environment, given the present-day distributions and feeding habits of these river, lake, and terrestrial taxa. The mean July temperature at this time was probably about 15°C, as compared to the present-day value of 20.5°C. The forest was poorer in deciduous species during deposition of the older part of the formation as preserved here. These results agree well with previous interpretations based on plant remains. We suggest that both aquatic and terrestrial insects are good indicators of macroclimate.
An 18-m-high coastal bluff at Togiak Bay (northwestern Bristol Bay, southwestern Alaska) exposes marine, lacustrine, fluvial, glacial, volcanic, and organic deposits that record the ∼50,000-year-long transition from the peak of the last interglaciation to the early Wisconsin glaciation. The base of the section is dominated by stratified sand and silt extending up to 4.3 m above sea level; marine diatoms are present, and pollen assemblages are characterized by relatively high percentages of Picea, Alnus, and Betula and low percentages of Poaceae and Cyperaceae. The marine sediment was probably deposited during the peak of marine oxygen-isotope stage (OIS) 5e. An infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) age of 151,000±13,000 yr from near the base of the exposure is permissive of this correlation. The marine sand and silt are overlain by 0.8 m of peaty silt with diatoms that record a transition from marine to lacustrine conditions. During this interval, Poaceae and Cyperaceae dominate the pollen assemblages, and Picea and shrubs are nearly absent, suggesting that herb tundra occupied the landscape. This interval probably encompasses OIS 5d on the basis of the herb tundra and an IRSL age of 119,000±10,000 yr from 60 cm below the marine/lacustrine transition. The organic mud is overlain by 3.1 m of stratified sand and organic silt that apparently record shallowing of the lake; reappearance of spruce and shrubs (=OIS 5c?); and subsequent deepening of the lake (=OIS 5b?); followed by aggradation of a floodplain (=OIS 5a?), which was dry at the time basaltic lava buried the site. Thermoluminescence analyses on lava-baked sediment indicate that the eruption occurred 70,000±10,000 yr ago. Sometime thereafter, but prior to 53,600 14C yr B.P. an outlet of the Ahklun Mountains ice cap advanced over the site and deposited ∼7 m of bouldery ice-contact drift. The sedimentary sequence contains at least four tephra beds. Major- and trace-element chemistry provide a basis for correlating two of the tephras with tephra beds at nearby sites. The tephras, luminescence ages, and correlations with marine isotope stages provide the geochronological control to place the Togiak Bay section into a global context. The site serves as an important new reference section for late Pleistocene paleoenvironmental change in eastern Beringia.
Recurring glacial outburst floods from the Yukon-Tanana Upland are inferred from sediments exposed along the Yukon River near the mouth of Charley River in east-central Alaska. Deposits range from imbricate gravel and granules indicating flow locally extending up the Yukon valley, to more distal sediments consisting of at least 10 couplets of planar sands, granules, and climbing ripples with up-valley paleocurrent indicators overlain by massive silt. An interglacial organic silt, occurring within the sequence, indicates at least two flood events are associated with an earlier glaciation, and at least three flood events are associated with a later glaciation which postdates the organic silt. A minimum age for the floods is provided by a glass fission track age of 560,000 ± 80,000 yr on the GI tephra, which occurs 8 m above the flood beds. A maximum age of 780,000 yr for the floods is based on normal magnetic polarity of the sediments. These age constraints allow us to correlate the flood events to the early-middle Pleistocene. And further, the outburst floods indicate extensive glaciation of the Yukon-Tanana Upland during the early-middle Pleistocene, likely representing the most extensive Pleistocene glaciation of the area.
Old Crow tephra is the first extensive Pleistocene tephra unit to be documented in the northwestern part of North America. It has a calc-alkaline dacitic composition with abundant pyroxene, plagioclase, and Fe–Ti oxides, and minor hornblende, biotite, apatite, and zircon. Thin, clear, bubble-wall fragments are the dominant type of glass shard. This tephra can be recognized by its glass and phenocryst compositions, as determined by X-ray fluorescence, microprobe, and instrumental neutron activation techniques. It has an age between the limits of 60,000 and 120,000 yr, set by 14C and fission-track measurements, respectively.
Old Crow tephra has been recognized in the Koyukuk Basin and Fairbanks region of Alaska, and in the Old Crow Lowlands of the northern Yukon Territory, some 600 km to the east-northeast. The source vent is unknown, but these occurrences, considered in relation to the distant locations of potential Quaternary volcanic sources, demonstrate the widespread distribution of this tephra and underscore its importance as a regional stratigraphic marker.
Perennially frozen loess deposits in the Klondike goldfields include paleosols formed in full-glacial environments, correlated by Alaskan distal tephra with Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 2 and 4. Patterns of organic and inorganic carbon and clay distribution, microstructures, and profile morphologies indicate that soil formation occurred in a base-rich environment in which organic matter accreted predominantly as root detritus. At sites approximately 20 km apart, the expression of cryoturbation and ice wedge development decreases in strength upward in loess–paleosol sequences correlated with MIS 4, suggesting increasing aridity. Configurations of cryoturbation features and ice-wedge thaw unconformities, the presence of numerous ground squirrel burrows, and an absence of peat accumulation suggest that these substrates were predominantly well-drained, with active layers of equal or greater thickness than in modern soils on similar sites in the west-central Yukon. Some characteristics of these paleosols are similar to those of modern steppe and tundra soils, consistent with plant macrofossil evidence for local ecological diversity during full-glacial conditions in eastern Beringia.
Alluvial and lacustrine sediments exposed beneath late Pleistocene glaciolacustrine silt and clay at two sites along the Old Crow River, northern Yukon Territory, are rich in fossils and contain tephra beds. Surprise Creek tephra (SZt) occurs in the lower part of the alluvial sequence at CRH47 and Little Timber tephra (LTt) is present near the base of the exposure at CRH94. Surprise Creek tephra has a glass fission-track age of 0.17 ± 0.07 Ma and Little Timber tephra is 1.37 ± 0.12 Ma. All sediments at CRH47 have a normal remanent magnetic polarity and those near LTt at CRH94 have a reversed polarity — in agreement with the geomagnetic time scale. Small mammal remains from sediments near LTt support an Early Pleistocene age but the chronology is not so clear at CRH47 because of the large error associated with the SZt age determination. Tephrochronological and paleomagnetic considerations point to an MIS 7 age for the interglacial beds just below SZt at CRH47 and at Chester Bluffs in east-central Alaska, but mammalian fossils recovered from sediments close to SZt suggest a late Irvingtonian age, therefore older than MIS 7. Further studies are needed to resolve this problem.
The Kulshan caldera formed at ∼1.15 Ma on the present-day site of Mt. Baker, Washington State, northwest USA and erupted a compositionally zoned (dacite-rhyolite) magma and a correlative eruptive, the Lake Tapps tephra. This tephra has previously been described, but only from the Puget Lowland of NW Washington. Here an occurrence of a Kulshan caldera correlative tephra is described from the Quaternary Palouse loess at the Washtucna site (WA-3). Site WA-3 is located in east-central Washington, ∼340 km southeast of the Kulshan caldera and ∼300 km east-southeast of the Lake Tapps occurrence in the Puget Lowland. Major- and trace element chemistry and location of the deposit at Washtucna within reversed polarity sediments indicates that it is not correlative with the Mesa Falls, Rockland, Bishop Ash, Lava Creek B or Huckleberry Ridge tephras. Instead the Washtucna deposit is related to the Lake Tapps tephra by fractional crystallisation, but is chemically distinct, a consequence of its eruption from a compositionally zoned magma chamber. The correlation of the Washtucna occurrence to the Kulshan caldera-forming eruption indicates that it had an eruptive volume exceeding 100 km3, and that its tephra could provide a valuable early-Pleistocene chronostratigraphic marker in the Pacific Northwest.
The “upper pit” at the Lost Chicken placer gold mine in east central Alaska contains fossils that provide information on the flora and insect fauna of interior Alaska just before the onset of global cooling at 2.5 myr. Fossils come from sediments interbedded with the Lost Chicken tephra (dated at 2.9 ± 0.4 myr—early Late Pliocene) and portray the floodplain and valley of a small creek within a region dominated by a coniferous forest richer in genera and species than the present one. Climate was wetter and less continental, and there was probably little or no permafrost. At least one other Pliocene tephra (the Fortymile tephra) occurs at the site and is also associated with plant and insect fossils. Among these fossils are extinct plants and insects like those found at other Tertiary sites in northern Canada and Alaska. The Lost Chicken sequence is the same age as the Beaufort Formation on Meighen Island, more than 1000 km to the north. Like Lost Chicken, Meighen Island sediments contain fossils representing a diverse boreal environment. This shows that the latitudinal climate gradient during early Late Pliocene time was shallower than at present and the boreal forest had a far greater latitudinal span than now.
Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) has been widely used as a Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) layer in the photovoltaic solar technology because of its excellent electrical and optical properties. However, ITO is brittle, and its conductivity decreases significantly as the ITO films are exposed to stretching or bending strains especially in flexible/foldable solar cell applications. The cracks in ITO appear at very low strains which might cause failure in the conductive layer because of the combination of a very thin film of brittle ceramic material applied to a polymer substrate. Poly (3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophene), abbreviated PEDOT, is of increasing interest as a competitive candidate to ITO. PEDOT has found its way in many applications such as transparent electrode materials and transparent conductive layers in photovoltaic solar cells. In this work, the mechanical behavior of PEDOT was studied under high cycle bending fatigue in which the effects of bending diameter and bending frequency were considered and compared to ITO. High magnification optical images were used to study cracking in the PEDOT as well as the ITO layers. In flexible solar cells, the web will be exposed to folding/bending many times during manufacturing and installation. Therefore, the thin film substrate structure will be exposed to cyclic loading cyclic tensile and compressive strains. Therefore, this work was designed to mechanically fatigue the structure and study its behavior. It was found that bending diameters as well as material (PEDOT or ITO) have a great influence on the electrical conductivity of the thin films.
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