New Zealand supereruption provides time marker for the Last Glacial Maximum in Antarctica

Scientific Reports
By: , and 



Multiple, independent time markers are essential to correlate sediment and ice cores from the terrestrial, marine and glacial realms. These records constrain global paleoclimate reconstructions and inform future climate change scenarios. In the Northern Hemisphere, sub-visible layers of volcanic ash (cryptotephra) are valuable time markers due to their widespread dispersal and unique geochemical fingerprints. However, cryptotephra are not as widely identified in the Southern Hemisphere, leaving a gap in the climate record, particularly during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Here we report the first identification of New Zealand volcanic ash in Antarctic ice. The Oruanui supereruption from Taupo volcano (25,580  ±  258 cal. a BP) provides a key time marker for the LGM in the New Zealand sector of the SW Pacific. This finding provides a high-precision chronological link to mid-latitude terrestrial and marine sites, and sheds light on the long-distance transport of tephra in the Southern Hemisphere. As occurred after identification of the Alaskan White River Ash in northern Europe, recognition of ash from the Oruanui eruption in Antarctica dramatically increases the reach and value of tephrochronology, providing links among climate records in widely different geographic areas and depositional environments.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title New Zealand supereruption provides time marker for the Last Glacial Maximum in Antarctica
Series title Scientific Reports
DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-11758-0
Volume 7
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Springer Nature
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description Article number: 12238; 8 p.
Country New Zealand
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