The ELSA tephra stack: Volcanic activity in the Eifel during the last 500,000 years

Michael W. Förster*, Frank Sirocko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tephra layers of individual volcanic eruptions are traced in several cores from Eifel maar lakes, drilled between 1998 and 2014 by the Eifel Laminated Sediment Archive (ELSA). All sediment cores are dated by 14C and tuned to the Greenland interstadial succession. Tephra layers were characterized by the petrographic composition of basement rock fragments, glass shards and characteristic volcanic minerals. 10 marker tephra, including the well-established Laacher See Tephra and Dümpelmaar Tephra can be identified in the cores spanning the last glacial cycle. Older cores down to the beginning of the Elsterian, show numerous tephra sourced from Strombolian and phreatomagmatic eruptions, including the 40Ar/ 39Ar dated differentiated tephra from Glees and Hüttenberg. In total, at least 91 individual tephra can be identified since the onset of the Eifel volcanic activity at about 500,000 b2k, which marks the end of the ELSA tephra stack with 35 Strombolian, 48 phreatomagmatic and 8 tephra layers of evolved magma composition. Many eruptions cluster near timings of the global climate transitions at 140,000, 110,000 and 60,000 b2k. In total, the eruptions show a pattern, which resembles timing of phases of global sea level and continental ice sheet changes, indicating a relation between endogenic and exogenic processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-107
Number of pages8
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Volume142
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Climate
  • Eifel
  • Laminated lake sediments
  • Pleistocene
  • Sedimentary archives
  • Tephrochronology

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