Abstract

The Emmons Lake Volcanic Center on the Alaska Peninsula of southwestern Alaska is the site of at least two rhyolitic caldera-forming eruptions (C1 and C2) of late Quaternary age that are possibly the largest of the numerous caldera-forming eruptions known in the Aleutian arc. The deposits produced by these eruptions are widespread (eruptive volumes of >50 km3 each), and their association with Quaternary glacial and eolian deposits on the Alaska Peninsula and elsewhere in Alaska and northwestern Canada enhances the likelihood of establishing geochronological control on Quaternary stratigraphic records in this region. The pyroclastic deposits associated with the second caldera-forming eruption (C2) consist of loose, granular, airfall and pumice-flow deposits that extend for tens of kilometres beyond Emmons Lake caldera, reaching both the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean coastlines north and south of the caldera. Geochronological and compositional data on C2 deposits indicate a correlation with the Dawson tephra, a 24 000 14C BP (27 000 calibrated years BP), widespread bed of silicic ash found in loess deposits in west-central Yukon Territory, Canada. The correlation clearly establishes the Dawson tephra as the time-stratigraphic marker of the last glacial maximum.

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