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Book Chapter

Quantifying bioturbation of a simulated ash fall event

By
Joe A. Todd
Joe A. Todd
1
School of Geography and Geosciences, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland KY16 9AL, UK
2
Present address: Department of Geography, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1ER, UK
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William E. N. Austin
William E. N. Austin
1
School of Geography and Geosciences, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland KY16 9AL, UK
3
Present address: Scottish Marine Institute, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban PA37 1QA, UK
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Peter M. Abbott
Peter M. Abbott
1
School of Geography and Geosciences, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland KY16 9AL, UK
4
Present address: Department of Geography, College of Science, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2014

Abstract

Tephrochronology allows the establishment of ‘isochrons’ between marine, lacustrine, terrestrial and ice cores, typically based on the geochemical fingerprint of the tephra. The development of cryptotephrochronology has revealed a vast inventory of isochrons which hold the potential to improve stratigraphic correlation and identify systemic leads and lags in periods of rapid climate change. Unfortunately, bioturbation acts to blur these isochrons, reducing the temporal resolution in marine and lacustrine records. In order to better resolve these event horizons, we require a better understanding of bioturbative processes, and the depth and time over which they operate. To this end, an ash fall event was simulated on the intertidal zone of the Eden Estuary, Fife, Scotland and sediment cores were collected over 10 days. A novel approach to tephra quantification was developed, using the imaging software ImageJ. Our results showed limited bioturbation (mixed depth=18 mm), most likely owing to the fine grain size, low-energy environment and the resulting faunal composition of the sediments. These results imply a strong ecological control on bioturbation, and suggest that inferences may be made about palaeoenvironments from the observed bioturbation profiles.

supplementary material:

The ImageJ macro used in this study, as well as raw tephra concentration data and details of the method validation are available at http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18725.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Marine Tephrochronology

W. E. N. Austin
W. E. N. Austin
University of St Andrews, UK
The Scottish Association for Marine Science, UK
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P. M. Abbott
P. M. Abbott
Swansea University, UK
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S. M. Davies
S. M. Davies
Swansea University, UK
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N. J. G. Pearce
N. J. G. Pearce
Aberystwyth University, UK
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S. Wastegård
S. Wastegård
Stockholm University, Sweden
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Geological Society of London
Volume
398
ISBN electronic:
9781862396746
Publication date:
January 01, 2014

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