Late Quaternary tephra in the New Ireland Basin, Papua New Guinea

Horz, Kersten, Worthington, Timothy, Winn, Kyaw and Stoffers, Peter (2004) Late Quaternary tephra in the New Ireland Basin, Papua New Guinea Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 132 (1). pp. 73-95. DOI 10.1016/s0377-0273(03)00421-9.

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Sediment cores were recovered from the New Ireland Basin, east of Papua New Guinea, in order to investigate the late Quaternary eruptive history of the Tabar-Lihir-Tanga-Feni (TLTF) volcanic chain. Foraminifera delta(18)O profiles were matched to the low-latitude oxygen isotope record to date the cores, which extend back to the early part of delta(18)O Stage 9 (333 ka). Sedimentation rates decrease from > 10 cm/1000 yr in cores near New Ireland to similar to2 cm/1000 yr further offshore. The cores contain 36 discrete ash beds, mostly 1-8 cm thick and interpreted as either fallout or distal turbidite deposits. Most beds have compositionally homogeneous glass shard populations, indicating that they represent single volcanic events. Shards from all ash beds have the subduction-related pattern of strong enrichment in the large-ion lithophile elements relative to MORB, but three distinct compositional groups are apparent: Group A beds are shoshonitic and characterised by > 1300 ppm Sr, high Ce/Yb and high Nb/Yb relative to MORB, Group B beds form a high-K series with MORB-like Nb/Yb but high Ce/Yb and well-developed negative Eu anomalies, whereas Group C beds are transitional between the low-K and medium-K series and characterised by flat chondrite-normalised REE patterns with low Nb/Yb relative to MORB. A comparison with published data from the TLTF chain, the New Britain volcanic arc and backarc including Rabaul, and Bagana on Bougainville demonstrates that only Group A beds share the distinctive phenocryst assemblage and shoshonitic geochemistry of the TLTF lavas. The crystal- and lithic-rich character of the Group A beds point to a nearby source, and their high Sr, Ce/Yb and Nb/Yb match those of Tanga and Feni lavas. A youthful stratocone on the eastern side of Babase Island in the Feni group is the most probable source. Group A beds younger than 20 ka are more fractionated than the older Group A beds, and record the progressive development of a shallow level magma chamber beneath the cone. In contrast, Group B beds represent glass-rich fallout from voluminous eruptions at Rabaul, whereas Group C beds represent distal glass-rich fallout from elsewhere along the volcanic front of the New Britain arc. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: New Ireland Basin Tabar-Lihir-Tanga-Feni marine ash beds delta O-18 stratigraphy silicic tephra geochemistry rabaul-caldera area britain island-arc lihir-island solomon-islands volcanic arc lavas mantle pacific petrogenesis constraints
Research affiliation: Kiel University
DOI etc.: 10.1016/s0377-0273(03)00421-9
ISSN: 0377-0273
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2012 05:49
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2012 10:32

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