Characteristics in trace elements compositions of tephras (B-Tm and To-a) for identification tools

Fumiko Watanabe Nara*, Tatsunori Yokoyama, Shin Ichi Yamasaki, Masayo Minami, Yoshihiro Asahara, Takahiro Watanabe, Kazuyoshi Yamada, Noriyoshi Tsuchiya, Yoshinori Yasuda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The absolute date of the Millennium Eruption (ME) of Changbaishan Volcano is widely recognized as AD 946. The Baegdusan-Tomakomai (B-Tm) tephra dispersed during the ME is a robust-age key bed. In order to identify the tephra, refractive index and major-element compositions of volcanic glass shards are conventionally used. Meanwhile, trace-element analysis using the inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) technique for the volcanic glass shards and bulk samples of the B-Tm tephra is still limited. Here we give a detailed description of major- and trace-element compositions for the glass shards and bulk sediments of the B-Tm and Towada caldera eruptions (To-a) tephra deposits from the Lake Ogawara sediment core, Tohoku region, northern Japan to identify the tephras. The depth profiles of the major and trace elements show the significant peaks for the K2O and some trace elements (Zn, Rb, Zr, Nb, Sn, Y, La, Ce, Nd, Th, and U) at the B-Tm tephra layer in the Lake Ogawara sediment core, but no peaks of these elements at the To-a tephra layer. High concentrations of the trace elements in the B-Tm tephra layer were observed in individual glass shards as well as in the bulk sediment. These concentrations are highlighted by the elemental abundance pattern normalized by the crustal abundance. The elemental pattern in individual glass shards from other Japanese tephras showed significant differences from those of the B-Tm tephra, especially in REE compositions. The trace-element compositions of the glass shards and bulk sediments show a strong tool for distinguishing the B-Tm tephra from other Japanese tephras.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-133
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • B-Tm tephra
  • Changbaishan Volcano
  • Lake Ogawara
  • The Millennium Eruption
  • Trace element compositions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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