Ages of 24 widespread tephras erupted since 30,000 years ago in New Zealand, with re-evaluation of the timing and palaeoclimatic implications of the Lateglacial cool episode recorded at Kaipo bog

D.J. Lowe, Maarten Blaauw, Alan. G. Hogg, Rewi M. Newnham

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101 Citations (Scopus)


Tephras are important for the NZ-INTIMATE project because they link all three records comprising the composite inter-regional stratotype developed for the New Zealand climate event stratigraphy (NZ-CES). Here we firstly report new calendar ages for 24 widespread marker tephras erupted since 30,000 calendar (cal.) years ago in New Zealand to help facilitate their use as chronostratigraphic dating tools for the NZ-CES and for other palaeoenvironmental and geological applications. The selected tephras comprise 12 rhyolitic tephras from Taupo, nine rhyolitic tephras from Okataina, one peralkaline rhyolitic tephra from Tuhua, and one andesitic tephra each from Tongariro and Egmont/Taranaki volcanic centres. Age models for the tephras were obtained using three methods: (i) C-based wiggle-match dating of wood from trees killed by volcanic eruptions (these dates published previously); (ii) flexible depositional modelling of a high-resolution C-dated age-depth sequence at Kaipo bog using two Bayesian-based modelling programs, Bacon and OxCal's P_Sequence function, and the IntCal09 data set (with SH offset correction-44±17yr); and (iii) calibration of C ages using OxCal's Tau_Boundary function and the SHCal04 and IntCal09 data sets. Our preferred dates or calibrated ages for the 24 tephras are as follows (youngest to oldest, all mid-point or mean ages of 95% probability ranges): Kaharoa AD 1314±12; Taupo (Unit Y) AD 232±10; Mapara (Unit X) 2059±118cal.yrBP; Whakaipo (Unit V) 2800±60cal.yrBP; Waimihia (Unit S) 3401±108cal.yrBP; Stent (Unit Q) 4322±112cal.yrBP; Unit K 5111±210cal.yrBP; Whakatane 5526±145cal.yrBP; Tuhua 6577±547cal.yrBP; Mamaku 7940±257cal.yrBP; Rotoma 9423±120cal.yrBP; Opepe (Unit E) 9991±160cal.yrBP; Poronui (Unit C) 11,170±115cal.yrBP; Karapiti (Unit B) 11,460±172cal.yrBP; Okupata 11,767±192cal.yrBP; Konini (bed b) 11,880±183cal.yrBP; Waiohau 14,009±155cal.yrBP; Rotorua 15,635±412cal.yrBP; Rerewhakaaitu 17,496±462cal.yrBP; Okareka 21,858±290cal.yrBP; Te Rere 25,171±964cal.yrBP; Kawakawa/Oruanui 25,358±162cal.yrBP; Poihipi 28,446±670cal.yrBP; and Okaia 28,621±1428cal.yrBP.Secondly, we have re-dated the start and end of the Lateglacial cool episode (climate event NZce-3 in theNZ-CES), previously referred to as the Lateglacial climate reversal, as defined at Kaipo bog in eastern North Island, New Zealand, using both Bacon and OxCal P_Sequence modelling with the IntCal09 data set. The ca1200-yr-long cool episode, indicated by a lithostratigraphic change in the Kaipo peat sequence to grey mudwith lowered carbon content, and a high-resolution pollen-derived cooling signal, began 13,739±125cal.yrBP and ended 12,550±140cal.yrBP (mid-point ages of the 95% highest posterior density regions, Bacon modelling). The OxCal modelling, generating almost identical ages, confirmed these ages. The Lateglacial cool episode (ca 13.8-12.6cal.kaBP) thus overlaps a large part of the entire Antarctic Cold Reversal chronozone (ca 14.1-12.4cal.kaBP or ca 14.6-12.8cal.kaBP), and an early part of the Greenland Stadial-1 (Younger Dryas) chronozone (ca 12.9-11.7cal.kaBP). The timing of the Lateglacial cool episode at Kaipo is broadly consistent with the latitudinal patterns in the Antarctic Cold Reversal signal suggested for the New Zealand archipelago from marine and terrestrial records, and with records from southern South America.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-194
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date19 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2013

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