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Authors: Giaccio, B.* 
Messina, P.* 
Sposato, A.* 
Voltaggio, M.* 
Zanchetta, G.* 
Galadini, F.* 
Gori, S.* 
Santacroce, R.* 
Title: Tephra layers from Holocene lake sediments of the Sulmona Basin,
Issue Date: Dec-2009
Series/Report no.: /28(2009)
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.06.009
Keywords: tephrostratigraphy
Holocene sediments
Sulmona basin
Central Italy
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.10. Stratigraphy 
Abstract: We present a new tephrostratigraphic record from the Holocene lake sediments of the Sulmona basin, central Italy. The Holocene succession is represented by whitish calcareous mud that is divided into two units, SUL2 (ca 32 m thick) and SUL1 (ca 8 m thick), for a total thickness of ca 40 m. These units correspond to the youngest two out of six sedimentary cycles recognised in the Sulmona basin that are related to the lake sedimentation since the Middle Pleistocene. Height concordant U series age determinations and additional chronological data constrain the whole Holocene succession to between ca 8000 and 1000 yrs BP. This includes a sedimentary hiatus that separates the SUL2 and SUL1 units, which is roughly dated between <2800 and ca 2000 yrs BP. A total of 31 and 6 tephra layers were identified within the SUL2 and SUL1 units, respectively. However, only 28 tephra layers yielded fresh micropumices or glass shards suitable for chemical analyses using a microprobe wavelength dispersive spectrometer. Chronological and compositional constraints suggest that 27 ash layers probably derive from the Mt. Somma-Vesuvius Holocene volcanic activity, and one to the Ischia Island eruption of the Cannavale tephra (2920 _ 450 cal yrs BP). The 27 ash layers compatible with Mt. Somma-Vesuvius activity are clustered in three different time intervals: from ca 2000 to >1000; from 3600 to 3100; and from 7600 to 4700 yrs BP. The first, youngest cluster, comprises six layers and correlates with the intense explosive activity of Mt. Somma-Vesuvius that occurred after the prominent AD 79 Pompeii eruption, but only the near-Plinian event of AD 472 has been tentatively recognised. The intermediate cluster (3600– 3100 yrs BP) starts with tephra that chemically and chronologically matches the products from the ‘‘Pomici di Avellino’’ eruption (ca 3800_ 200 yrs BP). This is followed by eight further layers, where the glasses exhibit chemical features that are similar in composition to the products from the so-called ‘‘Protohistoric’’ or AP eruptions; however, only the distal equivalents of three AP events (AP3, AP4 and AP6) are tentatively designated. Finally, the early cluster (7600–4700 yrs BP) comprises 12 layers that contain evidence of a surprising, previously unrecognised, activity of the Mt. Somma-Vesuvius volcano during its supposed period of quiescence, between the major Plinian ‘‘Pomici di Mercato’’ (ca 9000 yrs BP) and ‘‘Pomici di Avellino’’ eruptions. Alternatively, since at present there is no evidence of a similar significant activity in the proximal area of this well-known volcano, a hitherto unknown origin of these tephras cannot be role out. The results of the present study provide new data that enrich our previous knowledge of the Holocene tephrostratigraphy and tephrochronology in central Italy, and a new model for the recent explosive activity of the Peninsular Italy volcanoes and the dispersal of the related pyroclastic deposits.
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