East African Rift Tephra Database (EARThD) is a project that seeks to integrate, standardize, and investigate tephra datasets from the East African Rift focusing on the past approximately 5 million year record. Our goal is to compile a comprehensive database of known tephra occurrence across the East Africa Rift (EAR), drawn from the volcanological, geochemical, paleoanthropological, paleoclimatological, and paleoenvironmental literature so that the data may be discoverable and easily accessed by all. To accomplish this we are identifying publications containing EAR tephra data and entering/reformatting the data (see data types below) into standardized templates (see data entry below). The spreadsheets are then submitted to IEDA, processed, and stored in IEDA’s EarthChem library data repository (a NSF-funded, open-access, and community-based repository). The EarthChem library is easily discoverable and accessible using the EarthChem portal and GeoMappApp science exploration and visualization tools.
This website will be maintained to document project progress, offer a venue for community input, and provide instructions and direct links for searching, accessing, and downloading datasets.
Data Mining: The PI’s on this project are conducting an extensive literature search to identify publications from various disciplines documenting collected tephra occurrences and analyses in the EAR. We are seeking community involvement to ensure that the database is as comprehensive as possible. To contribute a publication that documents tephra deposits (geochemical, geochronological, and physical data) in the EAR, please click on the “Contribute to the Database” menu item above. Thank You!
Data Entry: Along with an undergraduate student workforce we are entering geochemistry, and basic geochronology and physical descriptions (see below) of tephras published from the EAR. We use the Petrological Database (PetDB) template that directly feeds into the EarthChem portal. By using the PetDB data template we strive to simplify the data entry process, ensuring productivity and success by employing a well-established data entry infrastructure. This template accommodates all necessary information for tephra samples. To ensure data quality, datasets will be reviewed by a PI and analyzed using the IEDA data E-checker.
Data Types: We seek all publications that contain tephra datasets from the EAR. The most common data types for entry into EARThD is geochemistry data.
Geochemistry. This includes bulk and discrete glass shard and mineral geochemistry analyzed using the following analytical methods: XRF, INAA, ICP-OES (bulk major elements), ICP-MS (bulk trace elements), EMPA (glass/mineral major elements), LA-ICP-MS (glass/mineral trace elements) and SIMS (glass/mineral trace and volatile elements).
What is entered: We enter all geochemical data including averages, bulk samples, and discrete grain analyses. We record analytical conditions including the analyzing laboratory.
Geochronology. Many tephra layers have been dated by K-Ar, 40Ar-39Ar, or fission track methods on mineral or glass grains. Where tephra deposits have been dated using other techniques, such as carbon-14 dating on charcoal embedded within/between deposits or on other macrofossil remains in lacustrine deposits, this information will also be incorporated, noting the environmental context of the deposit and the material that was dated.
What is entered: EARThD will record published dates with all associated error measurements and analytical methods including specifics (e.g., single grain total fusion), however it is beyond the scope of this effort to enter raw geochronology data. Please see GEOCHRON for specifics on submission of raw geochronology data.
Physical Descriptions. Tephra deposits may have information available on the physical characteristics, such as color, thickness, grain size, and componentry. Where possible, we will include this information as it is important for additional verification of potential correlations suggested by chemical composition. The physical properties of tephra deposits, particularly thickness and grain size, are also required to reconstruct eruption parameters such as volume and magnitude of past events, and are essential input parameters for forward tephra dispersal modelling.
What is entered: We are currently recording information on the source volcano (including Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program (SGVP) volcano database #s), formation and sedimentary context, given tephra name, deposit characterization (thickness, color, grain size, alteration) and any commentary on sampling procedure.
Database and Access: We will utilize existing open-access cyberinfrastructure, the Interdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance (IEDA) community-based data facility. Led by an undergraduate student workforce, datasets and associated metadata will be entered and formatted using standardized templates through IEDA (i.e., the Petrological Database (PetDB) template). Data will be easily discovered and accessed through the IEDA EarthChem portal and the GeoMappApp science exploration and visualization application. Additionally, the EARThD website will be created and maintained to document project progress, offer a venue for community input, and provide simple instructions and direct links for searching, accessing, and downloading EARThD datasets. Partly through undergraduate research projects, EARThD datasets will be analyzed to directly address our three research questions and findings will be published thereafter.
Data is stored in IEDA’s EarthChem library data repository (a NSF-funded, open-access, and community-based repository) and made easily discoverable and accessible using the EarthChem portal and GeoMappApp science exploration and visualization tools. Additionally, this website will be maintained to document project progress, offer a venue for community input, and provide instructions and direct links for searching, accessing, and downloading datasets. To ensure data quality, datasets will be reviewed by a PI and analyzed using the IEDA data E-checker.