The spatial distribution of Holocene cryptotephras in north-west Europe since 7 ka: implications for understanding ash fall events from Icelandic eruptions

Ian T. Lawson*, Graeme T. Swindles, Gill Plunkett, David Greenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

We present distribution maps for all cryptotephras (distal volcanic ash layers) younger than 7 ka that have been reported from three or more lakes or peatlands in north-west Europe. All but one of the tephras originates from Iceland; the exception has been attributed to Jan Mayen. We find strong spatial patterning in tephra occurrence at the landscape scale; most, but not all of the tephra occurrences are significantly spatially clustered, which likely reflects atmospheric and weather patterns at the time of the eruptions. Contrary to expectations based on atmospheric modelling studies, tephras appear to be at least as abundant in Ireland and northern Scotland as in Scandinavia. Rhyolitic and other felsic tephras occur in lakes and peatlands throughout the study region, but andesitic and basaltic tephras are largely restricted to lake sites in the Faroe Islands and Ireland. Explanations of some of these patterns will require further research on the effects of different methodologies for locating and characterizing cryptotephras. These new maps will help to guide future investigations in tephrochronology and volcanic hazard analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume41
Early online date14 Apr 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2012

Keywords

  • Iceland
  • Jan Mayen
  • Tephra
  • Peat
  • Lake sediment
  • Volcanic ash
  • Eyjafjallajokull
  • Tephrochronology
  • Volcanic hazard analysis
  • Tephra layers
  • Ireland
  • Sediments
  • Scotland
  • Atlantic
  • Record
  • Variability
  • Isochrones

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