A catalogue of major and trace element data for Icelandic Holocene silicic tephra layers

Rhian H. Meara, Th. Thordarson, Nick Pearce, C. Hayward, G. Larsen

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Tephra layers with Icelandic provenance have been identified across the North Atlantic region in terrestrial, lacustrine, marine and glacial environments. These tephra layers are used as marker horizons in tephrochronology including climate studies, archaeology and environmental change. The major element chemistries of 19 proximally deposited Holocene Icelandic silicic tephra layers confirm that individual volcanic systems have unique geochemical signatures and that eruptions from the same system can often be distinguished. In addition, glass trace element chemistry highlights subtle geochemical variations between tephra layers which appear to have identical major element chemistry and thus allows for the identification of some, if not all, tephra layers previously considered identical in composition. This paper catalogues the compositional variation between the widespread Holocene Icelandic silicic tephra deposits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-142
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number1-2
Early online date23 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2020


  • Iceland
  • major element
  • tephra
  • tephrochronology
  • trace element


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