Towards a Holocene tephrochronology for the Faroe Islands, North Atlantic

Stefan Wastegård, Esther Gudmundsdóttir, Eva Lind, Rhys Timms, Svante Bjorck, Gina Hannon, Jesper Olsen, Mats Rundgren

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The Faroe Islands hold a key position in the North Atlantic region for tephra studies due to their relative proximity to Iceland. Several tephras have been described over the last 50 years in peat and lake sediment sequences, including the type sites for the Saksunarvatn and Mjáuvøtn tephras. Here we present a comprehensive overview of Holocene tephras found on the Faroe Island. In total 23 tephra layers are described including visible macrotephras such as the Saksunarvatn and Hekla 4 tephras and several cryptotephras. The importance of tephras originally described from the Faroe Islands is highlighted and previously unpublished results are included. In addition, full datasets for several sites are published here for the first time. The Saksunarvatn Ash, now considered to be the result of several eruptions rather than one major eruption, can be separated into two phases on the Faroe Islands; one early phase with two precursor eruptions with lower MgO concentrations (4.5–5.0 wt%) than the main eruption and a later phase with higher MgO concentrations (5.5–6.0 wt%), including the visible Saksunarvatn Ash. The Tjørnuvík Tephra, previously considered to be a primary deposit, is now interpreted as a reworked tephra with material from at least two middle Holocene eruptions of Hekla. Several of the tephras identified on the Faroe Islands provide useful isochrons for climate events during the Holocene.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-214
Number of pages20
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date26 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018

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