Eruptive activity has occurred in the summit region of Mount Erebus over the last 95 ky, and has included numerous lava flows and small explosive eruptions, at least one plinian eruption, and at least one and probably two caldera-forming events. Furnace and laser step-heating 40Ar/39Ar ages have been determined for 16 summit lava flows and three englacial tephra layers erupted from Mount Erebus. The summit region is composed of at least one or possibly two superimposed calderas that have been filled by post-caldera lava flows ranging in age from 17 ?? 8 to 1 ?? 5 ka. Dated pre-caldera summit flows display two age populations at 95 ?? 9 to 76 ?? 4 ka and 27 ?? 3 to 21 ??4 ka of samples with tephriphonolite and phonolite compositions, respectively. A caldera-collapse event occurred between 25 and 11 ka. An older caldera-collapse event is likely to have occurred between 80 and 24 ka. Two englacial tephra layers from the flanks of Mount Erebus have been dated at 71 ?? 5 and 15 ?? 4 ka. These layers stratigraphically bracket 14 undated tephra layers, and predate 19 undated tephra layers, indicating that small-scale explosive activity has occurred throughout the late Pleistocene and Holocene eruptive history of Mount Erebus. A distal, englacial plinian-fall tephra sample has an age of 39 ?? 6 ka and may have been associated with the older of the two caldera-collapse events. A shift in magma composition from tephriphonolite to phonolite occurred at around 36 ka. ?? Springer-Verlag 2004.
Additional Publication Details
40Ar/39Ar dating of the eruptive history of Mount Erebus, Antarctica: Summit flows, tephra, and caldera collapse