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Geophysical Monograph Series

 

Keywords

  • Toba eruption
  • tephra
  • particle size
  • thickness
  • volume
  • climate impact

Index Terms

  • 8428 Volcanology: Explosive volcanism
  • 8404 Volcanology: Volcanoclastic deposits
  • 8455 Volcanology: Tephrochronology
  • 8408 Volcanology: Volcano/climate interactions

Article

GEOPHYSICAL MONOGRAPH SERIES, VOL. 198, PP. 63-73, 2012

Utilization of Distal Tephra Records for Understanding Climatic and Environmental Consequences of the Youngest Toba Tuff

E. Gatti and C. Oppenheimer

The most recent supereruption of the Toba caldera, Sumatra, approximately 74 ka, is the largest known of the Quaternary. It has been implicated in global and regional climate deterioration with widespread ecological effects, including dramatic reduction of genetic diversity in Homo sapiens. Since the first major studies of Youngest Toba Tuff (YTT) in the 1980s, several new ash deposits have been discovered in South Asia. In the light of these new findings, it is timely to review the available data in order to reexamine the significance and impact of the Toba supereruption. This paper examines the particle sizes and thicknesses of the YTT tephra fall deposits and correlates these with distance from the vent. We show that there are no correlations between the distance and finest ash component, suggesting that the ash distribution does not follow a traditional exponential decay. We compare two techniques to calculate the ash volume, obtaining estimates between 770 and 2000 km3 (dense rock equivalent). Although these parameters are keys to understanding the climatic and environmental impact of the eruption, there remain uncertainties in other critical factors such as the season during which the eruption took place and the local short-term impacts of the ash fallout.

Citation: Gatti, E., and C. Oppenheimer (2012), Utilization of distal tephra records for understanding climatic and environmental consequences of the Youngest Toba Tuff, in Climates, Landscapes, and Civilizations, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 198, edited by L. Giosan et al. 63–73, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2012GM001216.

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