The taphonomy of Last Glacial–Interglacial Transition (LGIT) distal volcanic ash in small Scottish lakes

Sean Pyne-O'Donnell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    53 Citations (Scopus)


    An extensive micro-tephrostratigraphic survey of three small lakes in the Scottish Inner Hebrides was conducted encompassing the Last Glacial–Interglacial Transition (LGIT). The lakes are highly contrasting in terms of lake area to catchment ratio, the presence or absence of stream inlets draining the catchment, and in the complexity of the catchment drainage network. A suite of distal Icelandic volcanic ashes was consistently detected in all three lakes, with three, namely Penifiler Tephra, Vedde Ash and Ashik Tephra, being common to all the lakes. These ashes were chosen to examine the taphonomic intercomparability of ash location and concentration among the lakes. Findings reveal that the part played by catchment inlets in determining ash concentration and within-basin location applies to microtephra layers as much as it does in studies of macrotephra layer thickness. The position of ash concentration maxima is also shown to vary significantly for different LGIT periods and may be a consequence of lake-level changes, especially during the early Holocene. High-resolution stratigraphic analysis through the Vedde Ash visible macrotephra at Loch Ashik reveals a high degree of complexity in taphonomic behaviour between the different geochemical components, with possible implications for the correct interpretation of the isochron position. The detection of multiple intact ash isochrons and the taphonomic processes responsible for their deposition should prove useful in future tephrostratigraphic surveys, as well as having applications within other palaeolimnological disciplines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)131-145
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    Dive into the research topics of 'The taphonomy of Last Glacial–Interglacial Transition (LGIT) distal volcanic ash in small Scottish lakes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this