Tephrochronology of last termination sequences in Europe: a protocol for improved analytical precision and robust correlation procedures (a joint SCOTAV–INTIMATE proposal)
Turney, C.S.M., Lowe, J.J., Davies, S.M., Hall, V., Lowe, D.J., …, Alloway, B. (2004). Tephrochronology of last termination sequences in Europe: a protocol for improved analytical precision and robust correlation procedures (a joint SCOTAV–INTIMATE proposal). Journal of Quaternary Science, 19(2), 111-120.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5257
The precise sequence of events during the Last Termination (18 000–9000 ka 14C yr BP), and the extent to which major environmental changes were synchronous, are difficult to establish using the radiocarbon method alone because of serious distortions of the radiocarbon time-scale, as well as the influences of site-specific errors that can affect the materials dated. Attention has therefore turned to other methods that can provide independent tests of the chronology and correlation of events during the Last Termination. With emphasis on European sequences, we summarise here the potential of tephrostratigraphy and tephrochronology to fulfil this role. Recent advances in the detection and analysis of ‘hidden’ tephra layers (cryptotephra) indicate that some tephras of Last Termination age are much more widespread in Europe than appreciated hitherto, and a number of new tephra deposits have also been identified. There is much potential for developing an integrated tephrochronological framework for Europe, which can help to underpin the overall chronology of events during the Last Termination. For that potential to be realised, however, there needs to be a more systematic and robust analysis of tephra layers than has been the practice in the past. We propose a protocol for improving analytical and reporting procedures, as well as the establishment of a centralised data base of the results, which will provide an important geochronological tool to support a diverse range of stratigraphical studies, including opportunities to reassess volcanic hazards. Although aimed primarily at Europe, the protocol proposed here is of equal relevance to other regions and periods of interest.