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A mid to late Holocene cryptotephra framework from eastern North America

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Helen Mackay



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Holocene cryptotephras of Alaskan and Pacific Northwestern origin have recently been detected ca. 7000 km away on the east coast of North America. This study extends the emerging North American tephrochronological framework by geochemically characterising seventeen cryptotephra layers from four newly explored peatlands. All detected tephras were deposited during the late Holocene, with no horizons present in the peat between ca. 3000–5000 years ago. The prevalence of the Alaskan White River Ash eastern lobe (AD 847 ± 1) is confirmed across the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland to Maine and a regional depositional pattern from Mount St Helens Set W (AD 1479–1482) is presented. The first occurrences of four additional cryptotephras in eastern North America are described, three of which may originate from source regions in Mexico, Kamchatka (Russia) and Hokkaido (Japan). The possibility of such tephras reaching eastern North America presents the opportunity to link palaeo-archives from the tropics and eastern Asia with those from the western Atlantic seaboard, aiding inter-regional comparisons of proxy-climatic records.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mackay H, Hughes PDM, Jensen BJL, Langdon PG, Pyne-O'Donnell SDF, Plunkett G, Froese DG, Coulter S, Gardner JE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Quaternary Science Reviews

Year: 2016

Volume: 132

Pages: 101-113

Print publication date: 15/01/2016

Online publication date: 10/12/2015

Acceptance date: 14/11/2015

Date deposited: 15/12/2015

ISSN (print): 0277-3791

ISSN (electronic): 1873-457X

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.11.011


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Funder referenceFunder name
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada
Swedish Research Council
Quaternary Research Association New Research Workers award
TAU 79/1012Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Tephra Analytical Unit grant