8 research outputs found

    Stratigraphy, chronology, and correlation of the Plio-Pleistocene (c. 2.2-0.8 Ma) Kauroa Ash sequence, western central North Island, New Zealand

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    The Kauroa Ash beds (K-beds) comprise a 12-20 m-thick sequence of extremely weathered, clay-rich (40-95% <4 μm clay) beds of tephra and loess, and associated paleosols. Found in isolated remnants throughout the western central North Island, the sequence comprises 15 defined members, with as many as 44 constituent macroscopic beds. The type site, ‘Woodstock’, near Raglan, is the most comprehensive sequence known, but other sites (e.g. Papakura Creek and Tiritirimatangi Peninsula) contain units not found or poorly defined at Woodstock. Field properties as well as magnetic susceptibility measurements and particle-size analysis characterise the facies in the sequence. Field properties (in particular colour, consistence, macrofabric) describe the lithostratigraphy. The sequence contains five interpretive (i.e. genetic) ‘facies’: paleosols, primary tephra, very weathered tephra (possibly composite beds), loess and ‘tephric loess’ beds. At least seven loess beds are (newly) identified in the sequence: K4a, K5, K6ai, K8ai, K8bi, K10a and K14ai. Mass-specific susceptibility and frequency-dependent susceptibility results partly conform to established models (developed mostly on Chinese loess-paleosol deposits) of susceptibility enhancement in paleosols and depletion in loess. Many parts of the sequence do not appear to conform to this model and the results more closely resemble the inverse relationship found on Alaskan loess-paleosol beds. Frequency-dependent susceptibility is reliable in delineating paleosols by their ‘ultrafine’ ferrimagnetic mineral content, and citrate-bicarbonate-dithionite treatments successfully remove all iron oxides so that remeasurement of susceptibility isolates a strictly ‘pedogenic’, rather than lithogenic, fraction. Laser diffraction particle-size analysis shows that the Kauroa Ash beds are texturally reasonably homogenous. They have bimodal particle-size distributions with the most dominant mode at around 11.25 ɸ inferred to be the product of intense and prolonged weathering. Other modes are variously centred on 7-8.5 ɸ and, despite weathering and pedogenesis, have some relationship to the original depositional particle-size distributions because trends between facies (i.e. genetic units) are delineated. Principal components analysis objectively characterises these modes as (Wentworth size classes) ‘very fine clay’ and ‘coarse silt’, although there is no proportional relationship between them, supporting a post-depositional origin for the former mode. The chronology of the sequence, previously poorly defined, is greatly improved by a combination of tephrochronologic correlations, fission-track dating, and paleomagnetism. Five zircon fission-track dates provide independent age ‘spikes’ and range from 2.24 ± 0.29 Ma in the basal member, K1, to 1.28 ± 0.11 Ma for the distal ignimbrite unit K12a. Paleomagnetism is invaluable in providing additional age information. The top of the sequence, member K15, is dated as >0.78 Ma (Brunhes-Matuyama boundary) because of its reversed polarity; two episodes of normal polarity are found in beds K14b and K2b and are inferred to represent the Jaramillo (1.07-0.99 Ma) and Olduvai (1.95-1.79 Ma) subchrons, respectively. Beds underlying the Kauroa Ash sequence are also of normal polarity, indicating that they were deposited in the Gauss Chron (>2.6 Ma). Identification and correlation of tephras by conventional means (fingerprinting by their lithological or geochemical properties) is impossible in the Kauroa Ash sequence because the beds have no remaining volcanic glass, which has instead been altered to an assemblage of authigenic phases (clays) by weathering and pedogenesis. However, a new technique analysing fresh glass found as melt inclusions in quartz grains is successful in circumventing this problem. Inclusions represent samples of non-degassed magma that became entrapped during phenocryst growth prior to eruption. The glass has remained unaltered because it is hermetically sealed in a chemically resistant phenocryst, which has protected it from weathering processes. Electron microprobe analysis of the glass inclusions yield results which are wholly reasonable for glass (totals ranging from 93-97%; low standard deviations of <1 %), and a number of provisional correlations are established by comparing the major element composition of Kauroa Ash tephra beds with those of proximal deposits. The Kauroa Ash sequence may contain deposits correlated with at least seven major TVZ eruptions, in many cases expanding the known extent of the (distal) deposit and, for the first time answering the question as to the origin of the Kauroa Ash beds. These correlations, together with an improved chronology, enable the Kauroa Ash sequence to be placed in a regional stratigraphic framework alongside other New Zealand Plio-Pleistocene sequences such as those in the Wanganui Basin, Wairarapa, Cape Kidnappers and Port Waikato. Using paleosols as chrono- and climatostratigraphic entities (correlated to warm periods in global climate), the sequence can also be placed alongside a global reference, the marine oxygen isotope stratigraphy. A further correlation to the Chinese loess-paleosol record suggests that large parts of the Kauroa Ash sequence were deposited in an incremental manner akin to deposition of loess, so that the sequence is not only a record of TVZ volcanism, but also of Plio-Pleistocene paleoclimate

    Ages on weathered Plio-Pleistocene tephra sequences, western North Island, New Zealand

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    Using the zircon fission-track method, we have obtained five ages on members of two strongly-weathered silicic, Pliocene-Pleistocene tephra sequences, the Kauroa and Hamilton Ash formations, in western North Island, New Zealand. These are the first numerical ages to be obtained directly on these deposits. Of the Kauroa Ash sequence, member K1 (basal unit) was dated at 2.24 ± 0.29 Ma, confirming a previous age of c. 2.25 Ma obtained (via tephrochronology)from K/Ar ages on associated basalt lava. Members K2 and K3 gave indistinguishable ages between 1.68 ± 0.12 and 1.43 ± 0.17 Ma. Member K12, a correlative of Oparau Tephra and probably also Ongatiti Ignimbrite, was dated at 1.28 ± 0.11 Ma, consistent with an age of 1.23 ± 0.02 Ma obtained by various methods on Ongatiti Ignimbrite. Palaeomagnetic measurements indicated that members K13 to K15 (top unit, Waiterimu Ash) are aged between c. 1.2 Ma and 0.78 Ma. Possible sources of the Kauroa Ash Formation include younger volcanic centres in the southern Coromandel Volcanic Zone or older volcanic centres in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, or both. Of the Hamilton Ash sequence, the basal member Ohinewai Ash (HI) was dated at 0.38 ± 0.04 Ma. This age matches those obtained by various methods on Rangitawa Tephra of 0.34-0.35 Ma, supporting correlation with this Whakamaru-caldera derived deposit. The origin of the other Hamilton Ash beds is unknown but various younger volcanic centres in the Taupo Volcanic Zone are possible sources. The topmost member, Tikotiko Ash (H6-H7), is estimated to be aged between c. 0.18 and 0.08 Ma. Various silicic pyroclastic deposits documented in North Island and in marine cores may be co-eval with members of the Kauroa Ash and Hamilton Ash sequences on the basis of their age

    Pathogenic Variants in MT-ATP6: A United Kingdom-Based Mitochondrial Disease Cohort Study

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    Distinct clinical syndromes have been associated with pathogenic MT-ATP6 variants. In this cohort study, we identified 125 individuals (60 families) including 88 clinically affected individuals and 37 asymptomatic carriers. Thirty-one individuals presented with Leigh syndrome and 7 with neuropathy ataxia retinitis pigmentosa. The remaining 50 patients presented with variable nonsyndromic features including ataxia, neuropathy, and learning disability. We confirmed maternal inheritance in 39 families and demonstrated that tissue segregation patterns and phenotypic threshold are variant dependent. Our findings suggest that MT-ATP6-related mitochondrial DNA disease is best conceptualized as a mitochondrial disease spectrum disorder and should be routinely included in genetic ataxia and neuropathy gene panels. ANN NEUROL 2019;86:310-31

    Tephrochronology in Aotearoa New Zealand

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    Tephra deposits in Aotearoa New Zealand (ANZ) have been studied for >180 years. The now-global discipline of tephrochronology, which has some developmental roots in ANZ, forms the basis of a powerful chronostratigraphic correlational tool and age-equivalent dating method for geological, volcanological, palaeoenvironmental, and archaeological research in ANZ. Its utility is founded on the key principle that tephras or cryptotephras provide widespread isochrons in many different environments. In the first part of this article, we summarise the history of tephra studies in ANZ and then describe how tephras have been mapped, characterised, and correlated using field and laboratory-based methods. We document advances in geochemical fingerprinting of glass; tephra/cryptotephra detection and correlation by sediment-core scanning methods (e.g. X-radiography, CT imaging, XRF elemental analysis, magnetic susceptibility); statistical correlation methods; and dating of tephras/cryptotephras. We discuss the advent of ANZ cryptotephra studies (from ~1980) and their recent growth. The second part comprises examples of applications of tephrochronology in ANZ: climate-event stratigraphy (NZ-INTIMATE project); eruptive-event stratigraphy in the Auckland Volcanic Field; developments in the marine tephra record; advances in identifying, correlating, and dating old (pre-50 ka) tephras and weathered-tephra deposits; forming soils/paleosols on tephras; tephras and archaeology; Kopouatai bog tephrostratigraphy and palaeoenvironments; and volcanic-hazard assessments

    Pathogenic variants in MT-ATP6: A United Kingdom-based mitochondrial disease cohort study.

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    Distinct clinical syndromes have been associated with pathogenic MT-ATP6 variants. In this cohort study, we identified 125 individuals (60 families) including 88 clinically affected individuals and 37 asymptomatic carriers. Thirty-one individuals presented with Leigh syndrome and 7 with neuropathy ataxia retinitis pigmentosa. The remaining 50 patients presented with variable nonsyndromic features including ataxia, neuropathy, and learning disability. We confirmed maternal inheritance in 39 families and demonstrated that tissue segregation patterns and phenotypic threshold are variant dependent. Our findings suggest that MT-ATP6-related mitochondrial DNA disease is best conceptualized as a mitochondrial disease spectrum disorder and should be routinely included in genetic ataxia and neuropathy gene panels. ANN NEUROL 2019;86:310-315

    Fewer invited talks by women in evolutionary biology symposia

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    Lower visibility of female scientists, compared to male scientists, is a potential reason for the under-representation of women among senior academic ranks. Visibility in the scientific community stems partly from presenting research as an invited speaker at organized meetings. We analysed the sex ratio of presenters at the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) Congress 2011, where all abstract submissions were accepted for presentation. Women were under-represented among invited speakers at symposia (15% women) compared to all presenters (46%), regular oral presenters (41%) and plenary speakers (25%). At the ESEB congresses in 2001–2011, 9–23% of invited speakers were women. This under-representation of women is partly attributable to a larger proportion of women, than men, declining invitations: in 2011, 50% of women declined an invitation to speak compared to 26% of men. We expect invited speakers to be scientists from top ranked institutions or authors of recent papers in high-impact journals. Considering all invited speakers (including declined invitations), 23% were women. This was lower than the baseline sex ratios of early-mid career stage scientists, but was similar to senior scientists and authors that have published in high-impact journals. High-quality science by women therefore has low exposure at international meetings, which will constrain Evolutionary Biology from reaching its full potential. We wish to highlight the wider implications of turning down invitations to speak, and encourage conference organizers to implement steps to increase acceptance rates of invited talks.
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