All Toba tephra occurrences across peninsular India belong to the 75,000 yr BP eruption

John A. Westgate, Philip A. R. Shane, N. J. G. Pearce, William T. Perkins, Ravi Korisettar, Criag A. Chesner, Martin A. J. Williams, Subhrangsu K. Acharyya

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A controversy currently exists regarding the number of Toba eruptive events represented in the tephra occurrences across peninsular India. Some claim the presence of a single bed, the 75,000-yr-old Toba tephra; others argue that dating and archaeological evidence suggest the presence of earlier Toba tephra, Resolution of this issue was sought through detailed geochemical analyses of a comprehensive suite of samples, allowing comparison of the Indian samples to those from the Toba caldera in northern Sumatra, Malaysia, and, importantly, the sedimentary core at ODP Site 758 in the Indian Ocean-a core that contains several of the earlier Toba tephra beds. In addition, two samples of Toba tephra from western India were dated by the fission-track method. The results unequivocally demonstrate that all the presently known Toba tephra occurrences in peninsular India belong to the 75,000 yr B.P. Toba eruption. Hence, this tephra bed can be used as an effective tool in the correlation and dating of late Quaternary sedimentary sequences across India and it can no longer be used in support of a middle Pleistocene age fbr associated Acheulian artifacts. (C) 1998 University of Washington.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1998


  • Toba tephra
  • volcanic glass
  • major and trace elements
  • fission-track age
  • Acheulian artifacts
  • India
  • AGES
  • ASH
  • BEDS


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