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Marine tephra in the Japan Sea sediments as a tool for paleoceanography and paleoclimatology
Tephra, Key bed, Japan Sea, Stratigraphy, Chronology, Paleoceanography
Dark-layer stratigraphy and tephra occurrences in the late Quaternary Japan Sea sediments (A) and tephra occurrences in marine sediment cores during MIS 3−5.3 (B)
Tephra is a product of large and explosive volcanic events and can travel thousands of kilometers before deposition. Consequently, tephra deposits are common in terrestrial, lacustrine, marine, and glacial environments. Because tephra deposition is a geologically synchronous event, tephras constitute important isochrones in the Quaternary sequence, not only in Japan but also throughout the northwest Pacific and its marginal seas. As a result, establishing the chronostratigraphic order of tephra deposits is an effective tool for assessing local and regional stratigraphies and for correlating events among sites. For example, tephrostratigraphy can provide precise chronological constraints for other stratigraphic data, such as magneto- and biostratigraphic data. Spatiotemporal variability in the occurrence and geochemistry of tephras can also be used to trace the magmatic evolution of island arcs and their relationships to regional tectonics. In a paleoclimatic context, tephra deposits allow the correlation of past climate events among terrestrial, lacustrine, and marine environments. Tephrochronology is also a fundamental element used in reconstructing the marine reservoir effect, where the ages of tephra in marine and terrestrial settings are compared. Therefore, tephra is a valuable tool not only in stratigraphy, chronology, and volcanology but also in paleoceanography and paleoclimatology.