The presence of Holocene cryptotephra in Wales and southern England

E. J. Watson, G. T. Swindles, I. T. Lawson, I. P. Savov, S. Wastegård

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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There have been few detailed studies into the tephrostratigraphy of southern Britain. We report the tephrostratigraphy of two sites, one in southern England (Rough Tor, Cornwall) and one in Wales (Cors Fochno, west Wales). Our study extends the known southernmost reach of Icelandic cryptotephra in northern Europe. Given the large distance between sites in southern England and eruptive sources (e.g. Iceland 1500–1700 km distant), most of the cryptotephra layers consist of sparse numbers of shards, even by the standards of distal tephrostratigraphy (as low as 3 shards cm−1), each layer spanning only 1 or 2 cm in depth. We identify multiple cryptotephra layers in both sites, extending the known distribution of several tephra layers including the MOR-T4 tephra (∼AD 1000) most probably of Icelandic origin, and the AD 860 B tephra correlated to an eruption of Mount Churchill, Alaska. The two sites record contrasting tephrostratigraphies, illustrating the need for the inclusion of multiple sites in the construction of a regional tephrostratigraphic framework. The tephra layers we describe may provide important isochrons for the dating and correlation of palaeoenvironmental sequences in the south of Britain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-500
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number4
Early online date21 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2017


  • Chronology
  • Peatlands
  • Tephra
  • Volcanic ash


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