The Hekla 1947 tephra in the North of Ireland: regional distribution, concentration and geochemistry.

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A cryptotephra layer from the eruption of Hekla in 1947 has recently been discovered in Irish peatlands. This tephra layer represents the most recent deposition of volcanic ash in the UK prior to the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. Here we examine the concentration and geochemistry of the Hekla 1947 tephra in 14 peat profiles from across Northern Ireland. Electron probe microanalysis of individual tephra shards (n?=?91) reveals that the tephra is of dacitic–andesitic geochemistry and is highly similar to the Hekla 1510 tephra, although spheroidal carbonaceous particle profiles can be used for successful discrimination of the two layers. The highest concentrations of Hekla 1947 are found in western sites, probably reflecting the pathway of the ash fall event due to the prevailing wind direction. Comparable tephra concentrations from two cores (1?km apart) from a single bog and from nearby sites may suggest that tephra shard concentrations in peat profiles reflect ash fallout densities across a specific region, rather than site-specific factors associated with peatlands. This paper firmly establishes Hekla 1947 as a useful chronostratigraphic marker for the twentieth century, although within a restricted zone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-431
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number4
Early online date09 Feb 2012
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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