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Role of tephra in dating Polynesian settlement and impact, New Zealand

Tephrochronology in its original sense is the use of tephra layers as time-stratigraphic marker beds to establish numerical or relative ages (Lowe and Hunt, 2001). Tephra layers have been described and studied in New Zealand for more than 160 years (the German naturalist and surgeon Ernst Dieffenbach described ‘recognizable’ tephra sections in his 1843 book Travels in New Zealand), and the first isopach map, showing fallout from the deadly plinian basaltic eruption of Mt Tarawera on 10 June 1886, was published in 1888 (Lowe, 1990; Lowe et al., 2002). More recently, a wide range of tephra-related paleoenvironmental research has been undertaken (e.g., Lowe and Newnham, 1999; Newnham and Lowe, 1999; Newnham et al., 1999, 2004; Shane, 2000), including new advances in the role of tephra in linking and dating sites containing evidence for abrupt climatic change (e.g., Newnham and Lowe, 2000; Newnham et al., 2003). Here we focus on the use of tephrochronology in dating the arrival and impacts of the first humans in New Zealand, a difficult problem for which this technique has proven to be of critical importance.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Lowe, D. J., & Newnham, R.M. (2004). Role of tephra in dating Polynesian settlement and impact, New Zealand. PAGES News, 12(3), 5-7.
PAGES, http://www.pages-igbp.org/products/newsletters/ref2004_3.html (Reference Pages)
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in the journal: PAGES News.