The interpretative value of transformed tephra sequences
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We explore developments in tephra science that consider more than chronology, using case studies. Volcanic processes and prevailing weather conditions determine the distribution of tephra deposits immediately after an eruption, but as these freshly fallen tephra become part of the stratigraphic record, the thickness, morphology and definition of the layers they form changes, reflecting the interplay of the tephra, Earth surface processes, topography and vegetation structure, plus direct or indirect modification caused by people and animals. Once part of the stratigraphic record, further diagnostic changes can happen to the morphology of tephra layers, such as the creation of over folds by cryoturbation. Thus, tephra layers may contain proxy evidence of both past surface environments and subsurface processes. Transformations of tephra deposits can complicate the reconstruction of past volcanic processes and make the application of classical tephrochronology as pioneered by Thorarinsson (Sigurður Þórarinsson in Icelandic) challenging. However, as Thorarinsson also noted, novel sources of environmental data can exist within transformed tephra sequences that include the spread or removal of tephra, variations in layer thickness and internal structures, the nature of contact surfaces and the orientation of layers.
Dugmore , A , Thompson , P , Streeter , R T , Cutler , N , Newton , A & Kirkbride , M 2020 , ' The interpretative value of transformed tephra sequences ' , Journal of Quaternary Science , vol. 35 , no. 1-2 , pp. 23-38 . https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.3174
Journal of Quaternary Science
Copyright © 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.3174
DescriptionFinancial support was provided by the National Science Foundation of America through grants 1202692 and 1249313, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland through a grant to RTS, and the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership PhD studentship NE/L002558/1 to PT.
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