Tephrabase: A Tephrochronological Database

Ey2010 tephra

Tephra (volcanic ash) layers are now an invaluable tool in palaeoenvironmental studies, as well a record of volcanic activity. The data produced by such research can be difficult to handle and disseminate. Tephrabase is a database of tephra layers found in Iceland, north-west and northern Europe, Russia and central Mexico. Details on the location, name, age and geochemistry of tephra layers are stored in the database, as well as information about relevant volcanoes and volcanic systems. A comprehensive reference database is also included. A Laacher See supplementary data collection is also included.

We have also added a feature that enables the automatic creation of tephrostratigraphic profiles and calculations of sediment accumulation rates for 200 soil profiles in Iceland.

The data stored in Tephrabase can be broadly divided into five main categories. As Tephrabase develops these will change and it is hoped that connections can also be made to other online systems.

  • Publications: Tephrabase has a frequently updated publications database (over 2600 entries) and all of the data in the database are linked to publications. Use this to search on keywords, authors or by year.
  • Iceland/Europe: Tephrabase was originally developed as a source of information about Icelandic tephra layers and currently has details of over 2700 Icelandic-derived tephra layers found at over 300 sites in Iceland and Europe, as well as over 3000 major element analyses.
  • Laacher See: This supplement to Tephrabase was developed with Felix Riede and contains details of over 430 sites where the c. 13 ka BP Laacher See tephra has been found and 16 locations with geochemical data.
  • Central Mexico: Tephrabase also includes details of some 16 sites, with 53 tephra layers (over 700 geochemical analyses) in central Mexico.
  • Mapping/Tephrostratigraphy: the locations of all sites in the database are shown on maps: sites in Europe (including tephra sites and Icelandic volcanic systems) and in Mexico. There are also tools to draw tephostratigraphic profiles and calculate sediment accumulation rates.

Latest Updates

Hekla 1510 and Hekla 1947

Tephra from the 1510 and 1947 eruptions of Hekla have been found in the west of Scotland and this data is now available in Tephrabase. Housley, RA, Blockley, SPE, Matthews, IP, MacLeod, A, Lowe, JJ, Ramsay, S, Miller, JJ and Campbell, EN (2010) Late Holocene vegetation and palaeoenvironmental history of the Dunadd area, Argyll, Scotland: chronology of events. Journal of Archaeological Science 37, 577-593. [February 2017]

Glen Garry Tephra in Scotland

Data from the 2008 paper on the Glen Garry Tephra in Scotland is now in Tephrabase. Barber, K., Langdon, P. and Blundell, A. (2008) Dating the Glen Garry tephra: a widespread late-Holocene marker horizon in the peatlands of northern Britain. Holocene 18, 31-43. [February 2017]

Hekla

Donate Data to Tephrabase

In order to help people donate data to Tephrabase, I have created a Word file (form) or PDF file which contain details about the data required. Please download either of the files and either fill in the form or use them to help you include all the information required. Any comments or questions welcome. Please email any data to me, anthony.newton@ed.ac.uk. I intend to create a more flexible online system in the future.