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Widespread tephra dispersal and ignimbrite emplacement from a subglacial volcano (Torfajökull, Iceland)

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  • J.D. Moles
  • Dave McGarvie
  • J.A. Stevenson
  • S.C. Sherlock
  • P.M. Abbott
  • F.E. Jenner
  • A.M. Halton
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/06/2019
Issue number6
Number of pages4
Pages (from-to)577-580
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/04/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The tephra dispersal mechanisms of rhyolitic glaciovolcanic eruptions are little known, but can be investigated through the correlation of eruptive products across multiple depositional settings. Using geochemistry and geochronology, we correlate a regionally important Pleistocene tephra horizon-the rhyolitic component of North Atlantic Ash Zone II (II-RHY-1)-and the Thórsmörk Ignimbrite with rhyolitic tuyas at Torfajökull volcano, Iceland. The eruption breached an ice mass > 400 m thick, leading to the widespread dispersal of II-RHY-1 across the North Atlantic and the Greenland ice sheet. Locally, pyroclastic density currents traveled across the ice surface, depositing the variably welded Thórsmörk Ignimbrite beyond the ice margin and ~30 km from source. The widely dispersed products of this eruption represent a valuable isochronous tie line between terrestrial, marine, and ice-core paleoenvironmental records. Using the tephra horizon, estimates of ice thickness and extent derived from the eruption deposits can be directly linked to the regional climate archive, which records the eruption at the onset of Greenland Stadial 15.2. © 2019 Geological Society of America.