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Rerewhakaaitu Tephra, a land–sea marker for the Last Termination in New Zealand, with implications for global climate change

Abstract
The Rerewhakaaiutu Tephra erupted from Okataina Volcanic Centre, North Island, New Zealand, at 14,700±95 ¹⁴C yr BP (ca 17,600 cal yr BP) at a time of rapid re-organisation of Earth's climate system at the end of the Last Glacial (Termination I). It provides a distinctive isochron in a range of different environments in North Island and in adjacent South Pacific Ocean sediments. Terrestrial evidence, based on fluvial aggradation and downcutting relationships, loess accumulation rates, palaeovegetation patterns, and buried soil development and mineralogy, shows that marked amelioration of climate occurred shortly before the Rerewhakaaitu Tephra was deposited. Similarly, marine evidence from around this time shows major changes in accumulation rates of sediment and aeolian quartz and in the abundance of various marine organisms, while foraminiferal oxygen and carbon isotope records indicate that the arrival of the glacial meltwater signal occurred close to or just after the deposition of the Rerewhakaaitu Tephra. These changes are discussed in relation to controls on climate by oceanic and atmospheric mechanisms. The re-organisation of climate commencing at ca 15,000–14,500 ¹⁴C yr BP (ca 18,000–17,400 cal yr BP) is detected elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere and evidently was linked to orbitally forced warming which is thought to have initiated ice retreat in both hemispheres.
Type
Journal Article
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Citation
Newnham, R.M., Eden, D.N., Lowe, D.J. & Hendy, C.H. (2003). Rerewhakaaitu Tephra, a land–sea marker for the Last Termination in New Zealand, with implications for global climate change. Quaternary Science Reviews, 22(2-4), 289-308.
Date
2003
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