The impact and significance of tephra deposition on a Holocene forest environment in the North Cascades, Washington, USA.

Joanne Egan, William, J. Fletcher, Tim, E.H. Allott, Christine, S. Lane, Jeff, J. Blackford, Douglas, H. Clark

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Abstract

High-resolution palaeoecological analyses (stratigraphy, tephra geochemistry, radiocarbon dating, pollen and ordination) were used to reconstruct a Holocene vegetation history of a watershed in the Pacific Northwest of America to evaluate the effects and duration of tephra deposition on a forest environment and the significance of these effects compared to long-term trends. Three tephra deposits were detected and evaluated: MLF-T158 and MLC-T324 from the climactic eruption of Mount Mazama, MLC-T480 from a Late Pleistocene eruption of Mount Mazama and MLC-T485 from a Glacier Peak eruption. Records were examined from both the centre and fringe of the basin to elucidate regional and local effects. The significance of tephra impacts independent of underlying long-term trends was confirmed using partial redundancy analysis. Tephra deposition from the climactic eruption of Mount Mazama approximately 7600 cal. years BP caused a significant local impact, reflected in the fringe location by changes to open habitat vegetation (Cyperaceae and Poaceae) and changes in aquatic macrophytes (Myriophyllum spicatum, Potamogeton, Equisetum and the alga Pediastrum). There was no significant impact of the climactic Mazama tephra or other tephras detected on the pollen record of the central core. Changes in this core are potentially climate driven. Overall, significant tephra fall was demonstrated through high resolution analyses indicating a local effect on the terrestrial and aquatic environment, but there was no significant impact on the regional forest dependent of underlying environmental changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-155
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume137
Early online date23 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • Tephra impact
  • Holocene environmental change
  • Pollen
  • Mazama
  • Glacier Peak
  • Redundancy analysis.

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