New Volcanic Futures

Towards a comprehensive distal andesitic tephrostratigraphic framework for New Zealand based on eruptions from Egmont volcano

Economic Impact & Health & Wellbeing | Mount Taranaki | 12.05.2023


The chronology and glass composition of 43 andesitic tephra layers in palaeolake sediments in northern New Zealand provide the basis for a fine‐resolution tephrostratigraphy of the interval 10–70 cal. ka. Their ages are constrained by 14 interbedded, (mostly) well‐dated rhyolitic tephra layers. The andesitic tephra have the potential to subdivide time intervals (1–5 kyr) bracketed by well known rhyolitic layers, including periods of rapid climate change such as the last glacial–interglacial transition and the Younger Dryas. The source of the distal andesitic tephra is identified as Egmont volcano (some 270 km S‐SW) on the basis of glass shard composition. The tephra contain high‐K2O (3–6 wt%) andesitic‐dacitic (SiO2 = 60–73 wt%) glass, with commonly heterogeneous shard populations (2–10 wt% SiO2). Within stratigraphic intervals of < 10 kyr, individual tephra layers can be distinguished on the basis of their SiO2 and K2O contents, and variability in these contents can also be a distinguishing characteristic. The tephra record greatly extends the dated pyroclastic and geochemical record of Egmont volcano, and demonstrates that the volcano has frequently produced widely dispersed tephra over the last 70 kyr at a generally constant rate. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.