Integrating the INTIMATE records using tephrochronology: rising to the challenge

Siwan M. Davies*, Peter M. Abbott, Nicholas J. G. Pearce, Stefan Wastegard, Simon P. E. Blockley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Little has challenged our understanding of climate change more so than the abruptness with which large-scale shifts in temperature occurred during the Late Quaternary. The causal mechanisms driving these rapid changes are poorly understood, largely due to the inherent difficulties of integrating palaeoclimate records which represents the key focus of the INTIMATEI project. Tephrochronology has become central to the synchronisation goals of INTIMATE, the overall aim of which is to test the degree of climatic synchroneity in relation to these rapid climatic events. Here we present a European framework of 12 volcanic events that hold considerable promise for achieving the INTIMATE goals and effecting precise correlation of widespread palaeoarchives. These tephras are widespread and fall stratigraphically in close association to rapid climatic changes. We believe that these represent the most valuable tephras for the European INTIMATE project, but also highlight those that require urgent investigation to refine their geochemical signatures, eruptive context and chronological and stratigraphical uncertainties. For instance, new data are presented for the Saksunarvatn Ash that question the sole reliance on major-element analysis for tephra characterisation and highlights some of the challenges that remain for tephra studies. Accordingly, we outline a number of key recommendations relating to geochemical characterisation, data comparison, assessing the depositional integrity of tephra horizons as well as methods for improving age estimates - all of which will optimise the application of tephrochronology to meet the INTIMATE goals. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-27
Number of pages17
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume36
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2012

Keywords

  • Tephra isochrones
  • Precise correlation
  • Geochemical analysis and data comparison methods
  • Saksunarvatn Ash
  • Depositional processes
  • GLACIAL-INTERGLACIAL TRANSITION
  • VOLCANIC ASH LAYERS
  • LATE QUATERNARY SEDIMENTS
  • HOLOCENE TEPHRA HORIZONS
  • HIGH-RESOLUTION RECORD
  • NORTH-ATLANTIC REGION
  • ICE CORE CHRONOLOGY
  • WEST-CENTRAL SWEDEN
  • VEDDE ASH
  • LAKE-SEDIMENTS

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