Application of tephrochronology to the timing and correlation of palaeoceanographic events recorded in Holocene and Late Glacial shelf sediments off north Iceland

K. L. Knudsen*, J. Eiríksson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The north Icelandic shelf is partly distinguished by the Tjörnes Fracture Zone featuring numerous active basins in a mud-dominated shelf environment. Late Glacial and Holocene high-resolution sedimentary records from this area have been studied with tephrochronology as the main tool for correlation and for exact timing of palaeoceanographic events in the area. Data from three new piston cores from the shelf demonstrate the importance of tephra markers for the first chronological evaluation and correlation of the cores. The correlation is extended with lithological logs and with magnetic susceptibility records. A detailed multidisciplinary study (including biostratigraphy and tephrochronology) of a late Holocene record of predominantly muddy sediments at the same location demonstrates that marked variations in the distribution of water masses occurred repeatedly through the last 4500 cal. yr. Of special interest is the exact timing of a marked drop in sea-surface temperature in the area, indicated by ice rafting debris concentration, to about 50 years before the Hekla 3 eruption, which occurred at 2980 cal. yr BP. This appears to predate most records of a general cooling event in NW Europe by a couple of centuries. Two different possible age models, one based on 14C dates combined with tephra markers and one based on tephra markers alone, are discussed in context with the problem of different marine reservoir ages of the water masses in the area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-188
Number of pages24
JournalMarine Geology
Volume191
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2002

Other keywords

  • Foraminifera
  • Holocene
  • Late Glacial
  • North Atlantic
  • Palaeoceanography
  • Tephrochronology

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