Sinking of Volcanic Ash in Uncompacted Sediment in Williams Lake, Washington

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Science  03 Aug 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4661, pp. 505-508
DOI: 10.1126/science.225.4661.505


Volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount St. Helens on 18 May 1980 fell into Williams Lake in eastern Washington and was temporarily suspended at the sediment-water interface. After several months of compaction, the ash layer broke up and sank into lower density uncompacted lake sediment. Stratigraphic time displacements of several hundred years and a failure to recognize discontinuous ash layers in sediment cores are possible consequences of this process.