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Type: Journal article
Title: Pacific offshore record of plinian arc volcanism in Central America: 3. Application to forearc geology
Author: Kutterolf, S.
Freundt, A.
Schacht, U.
Burk, D.
Harders, R.
Morz, T.
Perez, W.
Citation: G3: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 2008; 9(2):1-14
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 1525-2027
Abstract: Sediment gravity cores collected on the Pacific slope and incoming plate offshore Central America reach up to 400 ka back in time and contain numerous ash layers from plinian eruptions at the Central American Volcanic Arc. The compositionally distinct widespread ash layers form a framework of marker horizons that allow us to stratigraphically correlate the sediment successions along and across the Middle America Trench. Moreover, ash layers correlated with 26 known eruptions on land provide absolute time lines through these successions. Having demonstrated the correlations in part 1, we here investigate implications for submarine sedimentary processes. Average accumulation rates of pelagic sediment packages constrained by bracketing tephras of known age range from ~1–6 cm/ka on the incoming plate to 30–40 cm/ka on the continental slope. There are time intervals in which the apparent pelagic sedimentation rates significantly vary laterally both on the forearc and on the incoming plate where steady conditions are usually expected. A period of unsteadiness at 17–25 ka on the forearc coincides with a period of intense erosion on land probably triggered by tectonic processes. Unsteady conditions on the incoming plate are attributed to bend faulting across the outer rise triggering erosion and resedimentation. Extremely low apparent sedimentation rates at time intervals >50–80 ka suggest stronger tectonic activity than during younger times and indicate bend faulting is unsteady on a longer timescale. Submarine landslides are often associated with ash layers forming structurally weak zones used for detachment. Ash beds constrain ages of >60 ka, ∼19 ka, and <6 ka for three landslides offshore Nicaragua. Phases of intense fluid venting at mud mounds produce typical sediments around the mound that become covered by normal pelagic sediment during phases of weak or no activity. Using intercalated ash layers, we determine for the first time the durations (several hundred to 9000 years) of highly active periods in the multistage growth history of mud mounds offshore Central America, which is essential to understand general mud-mound dynamics.
Keywords: marine tephrostratigraphy; plinian volcanism; forearc geology; submarine slides; mound structures; Central America
RMID: 0020080235
DOI: 10.1029/2007GC001826
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Appears in Collections:Australian School of Petroleum publications

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