During the past year, Tephrabase has seen its largest expansion with new data being added, as well as rewriting of some of the code and a tidying up and cleaning of the data already held in the database. This work was partly carried out through the NSF-funded dataARC project. Tephrabase is an integral part of this multinational effort, which aims to link environmental, archaeological and historical sources in the North Atlantic region.
Highlights include the addition over the past year of 390 new sites, 2600 tephra layers and over 2700 geochemical analyses. 170 of these new sites and 2200 tephra layers are in Iceland. The remaining sites are of distal cryotephras found in Europe. Tephrabase's growing data currently contains details of nearly 6000 tephra layers (including over 6500 geochemical analyses) at nearly 1200 sites. We have also streamlined the way that dating of Icelandic historical tephra layers are handled and attempted to deal with the multiple names that the same tephra layer may have. The automatic drawing of stratigraphic diagrams has been expanded to include all European sites and the Sediment Accumulation Rate Generator to all suitable (i.e. aeolian soil) tephra sites in Iceland. The method by which results are displayed has also been updated.
Further work is ongoing to further integrate into dataARC and add new data to Tephrabase. The whole system is being ported from Oracle to the open source PostgresSQL database, together with improvements to the database structure, improving the systems for adding and editing data and rewriting of the code which displays the webpages and handles searches. [July 2019]
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 relevant 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.
The NSF-funded dataARC project is an interdisciplinary effort aimed at linking data from archaeology, paleoenvironment, paleoclimate, and the humanities to more easily address questions on the long-term human ecodynamics of the North Atlantic and beyond. dataARC builds on the pilot cyberNABO project. Pulling in professionals from informatics, data visualization, and the data creators themselves, dataARC is ambitiously creating a data infrastructure and digital tool that will allow scientists to more easily discover, access, link, and understand these data to enable interdisciplinary research, largely building off intensive research performed by the North Atlantic Biocultural Organization. Data from Tephrabase will be integrated into this project. [March 2017]
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, firstname.lastname@example.org. I intend to create a more flexible online system in the future.