The presence of Holocene cryptotephra in Wales and southern England

E. J. Watson*, G. T. Swindles, I. T. Lawson, Ivan P. Savov, S. Wastegård

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    60 Downloads (Pure)


    There have been few detailed studies into the tephrostratigraphy of southern Britain. We report the tephrostratigraphy of two sites, one in southern England (Rough Tor, Cornwall) and one in Wales (Cors Fochno, west Wales). Our study extends the known southernmost reach of Icelandic cryptotephra in northern Europe. Given the large distance between sites in southern England and eruptive sources (e.g. Iceland 1500–1700 km distant), most of the cryptotephra layers consist of sparse numbers of shards, even by the standards of distal tephrostratigraphy (as low as 3 shards cm−1), each layer spanning only 1 or 2 cm in depth. We identify multiple cryptotephra layers in both sites, extending the known distribution of several tephra layers including the MOR-T4 tephra (∼AD 1000) most probably of Icelandic origin, and the AD 860 B tephra correlated to an eruption of Mount Churchill, Alaska. The two sites record contrasting tephrostratigraphies, illustrating the need for the inclusion of multiple sites in the construction of a regional tephrostratigraphic framework. The tephra layers we describe may provide important isochrons for the dating and correlation of palaeoenvironmental sequences in the south of Britain. 2017 The Authors. Journal of Quaternary Science Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)493-500
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2017


    • chronology
    • peatlands
    • tephra
    • volcanic ash

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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