We reconstruct a Plio-Pleistocene microscopic tephrostratigraphy for DSDP Site 231 in the Gulf of Aden. Systematic microtephro-stratigraphy increases the potential for identifying tephra horizons for regional stratigraphic correlation and age control, as well as providing information about eruptive histories. Microtephra reveal three main pulses of volcanism c. 4.0-3.2 Ma, 2.4 Ma and 1.7-1.3 Ma, corresponding to peaks in volcanic activity recorded in the East African Rift System. Previous studies of DSDP Site 231 have reported six visible tephra horizons (up to 25 cm thick) with geochemical compositions matching East African tuffs. We find 68 additional microtephra horizons through microscopic examination of 1050 samples (each integrating c. 3 ka) in over 200 m of marine sediments. We report the major and minor element geochemical compositions of individual glass shards in six of these microtephra horizons and establish a robust correlation at 168.73 in to the Lokochot Tuff (3.58 Ma), which together with previously identified tephra, provides a tightly constrained chronostratigraphy for the mid Pliocene. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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