Abstract

Ash-grade Bridge River tephra, identified as such on the basis of shard habit, modal mineralogy, and composition of ilmenite, occurs in sedimentary cores from three lakes located to the south of the previously documented plume and necessitates a significant enlargement of the fallout area of that tephra in southwestern British Columbia.These new, more southerly occurrences are probably equivalent to the ~2350 year old Bridge River tephra, although it can be argued from the evidence at hand that the 14C dates and biotite-rich nature support relationship to a slightly earlier Bridge River event.Large differences exist in the 14C age of sediments immediately adjacent to the Bridge River tephra at these three lake sites; maximum ages of 3950 ± 170 years BP (GX-5549) and 3750 ± 210 years BP (I-10041) were obtained at Phair and Fishblue lakes, respectively, whereas the corresponding age at Horseshoe Lake is only 2685 ± 180 years BP (GX-5757). The two older dates are considered to be significantly affected by old carbon contamination for the bedrock locally consists of calcareous sedimentary rocks and the lacustrine sediments are very calcareous. The 14C date from Horseshoe Lake, which occurs in an area of igneous rocks, appears to be only slightly too old relative to the ~2350 year old Bridge River tephra.Well-dated tephra beds, therefore, can be very useful in assessing the magnitude of old carbon errors associated with radiocarbon dates based on limnic sediments. Calcareous gyttja deposits beneath Bridge River tephra within the study area exhibit old carbon errors of the order of 1350–1550 years.

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