Abstract

Six distal tephra beds from the Yukon Territory and Alaska have been dated by the fission-track method. Zircon and glass ages were determined for the Fort Selkirk and Lost Chicken tephra beds, but only glass ages for the others.Assuming that no track fading has occurred in the glass, Old Crow and Dawson tephra beds are younger than 120 000 and 52 000 years BP, respectively. Mosquito Gulch tephra is 1.22 Ma old, Fort Selkirk tephra is about 1 Ma old, the Ester Ash Bed is 0.45 Ma old, and the best estimate of the age of Lost Chicken tephra is the range 1.7–2.6 Ma.It is evident from these results and from the known abundance of tephra beds within late Cenozoic deposits of the Yukon Territory and Alaska that application of the fission-track method to distal tephra, in conjunction with detailed characterization studies, offers great potential for elucidation of the late Cenozoic geologic history of Alaska and the Yukon Territory.

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