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ABSTRACT

More than 100 air-fall volcanic tephra beds are currently documented from Devonian strata in the eastern United States. These beds act as key sources of various geological data. These include within-basin to basin-to-basin correlation, globally useful geochronologic age dates, and a relatively detailed, if incomplete, record of Acadian–Neoacadian silicic volcanism. The tephras occur irregularly through the vertical Devonian succession, in clusters of several beds, or scattered as a few to single beds. In this contribution, their vertical and lateral distribution and recent radiometric dates are reviewed. Current unresolved issues include correlation of the classic Eifelian-age (lower Middle Devonian) Tioga tephras and dates related to the age of the Onondaga-Marcellus contact in the Appalachian Basin. Here, we used two approaches to examine the paleovolcanic record of Acadian–Neoacadian silicic magmatism and volcanism. Reexamination of volcanic phenocryst distribution maps from the Tioga tephras indicates not one but four or more volcanic sources along the orogen, between southeastern Pennsylvania and northern North Carolina. Finally, radiometric and relative ages of the sedimentary basin tephras are compared and contrasted with current radiometric ages of igneous rocks from New England. Despite data gaps and biases in both records, their comparisons provide insights into Devonian silicic igneous activity in the eastern United States, and into various issues of recognition, deposition, and preservation of tephras in the sedimentary rock record.

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