Holt, K.A., Lowe, D.J., Hogg, A.G. & Wallace, R.C. (2011). Distal occurrence of mid-Holocene Whakatane Tephra on the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, and potential for cryptotephra studies. Quaternary International, available online 25 June 2011.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5454
The Whakatane Tephra, a rhyolitic tephra erupted ca. 5500 cal. BP from Okataina Volcanic Centre, central North Island, has been identified on the Chatham Islands which lie ˜900 km east of Christchurch, New Zealand. The visible tephra layer, ˜5 mm in thickness and preserved within peat on Pitt Island, was identified using both radiocarbon dating and analysis of glass shards by electron microprobe. Whakatane Tephra is the first Holocene tephra to be identified on the Chatham Islands, and it is the most distal Holocene tephra yet recorded in the New Zealand region, being ˜850 km from source. The Pitt Island occurrence extends the tephra's dispersal area markedly, by an order of magnitude, possibly to ˜300,000 km2. An estimated dispersal index (D) of approximately 105 km2 indicates that the eruption generated a very high plinian column, possibly exceeding ˜30 km in height, with strong winds blowing the ash plume southeastwards. This new discovery of distal Whakatane Tephra as a thin but visible layer strongly implies that cryptotephras are likely to be preserved on the Chatham Islands and within adjacent ocean floor sediments. Therefore the potential exists to develop enhanced cryptotephrostratigraphic records from these distal areas, which in turn would help facilitate precise correlation via tephrochronology of palaeoenvironmental records (such as NZ-INTIMATE) from mainland New Zealand, the southwest Pacific Ocean, and the Chatham Islands.
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in the journal: Quaternary International. ©2011 Elsevier. Used with permission.