American West Tephras – Geomagnetic polarity events redefined through calibration of radio-isotopic and astronomical time

Tiffany Rivera, Michael Storey

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


    The foundation of the EARTHTIME/GTSnext initiative seeks to construct an internally consistent geologic timescale based on astronomical and radio-isotopic geochronology. American west tephras offer a prime opportunity to integrate these two independent timescales with the geomagnetic
    timescale. Using an astronomically calibrated age for the monitor mineral Fish Canyon sanidine (FCs;28.201 ± 0.046 Ma, Kuiper, et al., 2008), ages of Pleistocene geomagnetic polarity events are reexamined.
    Of particular interest, the Quaternary mineral dating standard Alder Creek sandine (ACs) is the type locality for the Cobb Mountain geomagnetic event. New single-crystal analyses, performed on a Noblesse multi-collector noble gas mass spectrometer, suggest a refined 40Ar/39Ar age for ACs, with
    precision nearing the ambitious 0.1% goal of the EARTHTIME project. Moreover, this new ACs age is consistent with the astronomical age of the Cobb Mountain event, independently determined through correlation of oxygen isotopes in a piston core (Horng, et al. 2002).
    Two other ash flows in the American west were analyzed: the Bishop and the Huckleberry Ridge Tuffs. Multi-crystal sanidine experiments of the Bishop Tuff provide an astronomically relative 40Ar/39Ar age for the eruption and associated Matuyama/Brunhes magnetic polarity transition. Singlecrystal
    astronomically relative 40Ar/39Ar ages for the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff are indistinguishable from previously determined ages, and provide a degree of confidence in the astronomical calibration. Although this geomagnetic event is not part of the most recent geologic timescale, refined ages on short-lived excursions could hold importance to understanding time scales for the wavering nature of Earth’s magnetic field.
    We propose a new 40Ar/39Ar age for the Quaternary mineral dating standard ACs that reflects the astronomical calibration of FCs and age of the Cobb Mountain polarity event. It is suggested that this 40Ar/39Ar age replace that of Renne, et al. (1998) when using ACs as the monitor in argon age determinations.
    The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh
    Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 215458.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2010
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    Event2010 GSA Annual Meeting - Denver, CO, United States
    Duration: 30 Oct 20103 Nov 2010


    Conference2010 GSA Annual Meeting
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityDenver, CO
    • 2010 GSA Annual Meeting

      Tiffany Rivera (Speaker)

      30 Oct 20104 Nov 2010

      Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

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