The 100–133 ka record of Italian explosive volcanism and revised tephrochronology of Lago Grande di Monticchio

Sabine Wulf, Jorg Keller, Martine Paterne, Jens Mingram, Stefan Lauterbach, Stephan Opitz, Gianluca Sottili, Biagio Giaccio, Paul Albert, Christopher Satow, Emma Tomlinson, Marco Viccaro, Achim Brauer

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Laminated sediments of the maar lake Lago Grande di Monticchio in southern Italy exhibit a unique sequence of numerous primary tephra events that provide both insights into the Late Quaternary eruptive history of Italian volcanoes and an archive of essential marker horizons for dating and linking palaeoclimate records throughout the Central and Eastern Mediterranean. The acquisition of new sediment cores from this lake now extends the existing 100 ka-tephra record back to 133 ka BP, the end of the penultimate Glacial. The additional ca 30 m of sediments host a total number of 52 single tephra layers forming 21 tephra clusters that have been characterised on the basis of detailed geochemical and petrographical examinations. Tephras can be assigned to hitherto poorly known Plinian to sub-Plinian eruptive events of the nearby Campanian (Ischia Island, Phlegrean Fields), Roman (Sabatini volcanic district) and Aeolian-Sicilian volcanoes (Etna, Stromboli, Salina) and are dated according to the varve and sedimentation rate chronology of Monticchio sediments. The most prominent tephra layers within the interval of investigation – TM-25 and TM-27 – can be firmly correlated with Ionian Sea tephras X-5 (ca 105 ka BP) and X-6 (ca 108–110 ka BP). In addition, a further 26 tephra layers are correlated with radiometrically and radioisotopically dated volcanic events providing the basis for a robust revised tephrochronology of the entire Monticchio sediment sequence for the last 133 ka.
Original languageEnglish
Article number58
Pages (from-to)104–123
Number of pages19
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date12 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • tephrochronology
  • Italian volcanism
  • Lago Grande di Monticchio
  • Central Mediterranean

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