Marine tephrochronology: a personal perspective
Lowe, D. J. (2014). Marine tephrochronology: a personal perspective. Marine Tephrochronology. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 398(Special Publication), 7–19. http://doi.org/doi:10.1144/SP398.11
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8824
This special volume on marine tephrochronology is remarkable, and timely, because it marks a concerted step towards what might be informally termed ‘phase 3’ of a revolution in Quaternary geosciences that began around 40 years ago. The 10 articles collectively represent a re-focussed examination of tephras and cryptotephras preserved in ocean sediments at various locations and the authors describe their significance for a range of subdisciplines. Eight articles provide a new understanding of the origin, distribution and ages of various tephra and cryptotephra deposits and their stratigraphic inter-relationships; how the terrestrial ages of the tephra/crypotephra deposits relate to those of enclosing sediments and inform the ongoing development of the marine radiocarbon time-scale; mechanisms for the emplacement, remobilization or bioturbation of the tephras or cryptotephras; and volcanic eruption history. Two further articles document the characterization of tephra-derived glass shards using microbeam techniques to analyse 30–40 elements from individual shards as small as 10 µm in diameter. The collection thus provides snapshots of many aspects of the latest developments and directions in tephra studies – volcanology, primary and secondary dispersal, stratigraphy, single-grain characterization, chronology – through the medium of marine sediments. My personal perspective reflects briefly on how this point was reached and identifies a few of the important milestones on the way from ‘phase 1’ to ‘phase 3’. I am privileged to write it. Marine science revolution As an undergraduate in the early-mid 1970s, I recall my first real ‘awakening’ regarding the dynamic nature of science, and of Quaternary geoscience in particular, when told about deep-sea core V28-238 from the equatorial Pacific Ocean (Shackleton & Opdyke 1973; >2650 citations, Google Scholar). Analogous to the opening notes of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, perhaps the most famous quartet of notes in history, the alpha-numerical assemblage ‘V28-2
Geological Society, London
This is the Author's Accepted Verison. Copyright The Geological Society of London 2014.