The largest known eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the late Quaternary was the Inararo Tuff Formation (ITF) eruption, roughly estimated as five times larger than the 1991 eruption. The precise age of the ITF eruption has been uncertain. Here, a correlative of the ITF eruption, Layer D, is identified in marine sediments, and an age obtained. Tephras were identified in core MD97-2142 of Leg II of the IMAGES III cruise in northern offshore of Palawan, southeastern South China Sea (12??41.33???N, 119??27.90???E). On the basis of the geochemical and isotopic fingerprints, Layer D can be correlated with the ITF eruption of the modern Pinatubo-eruption sequence. By means of the MD97-2142 SPECMAP chronology, Layer D was dated at around 81??2 ka. This estimated age of the ITF eruption and tephra Layer D coincides with an anomalously high SO4-2 spike occurring within the 5 millennia from 79 to 84 ka in the GISP2 ice core record. ?? 2007.
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Determining an age for the Inararo Tuff eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, based on correlation with a distal ash layer in core MD97-2142, South China Sea