Towards a detailed distal tephrostratigraphy in the Central Mediterranean: the last 20,000 yrs record of Lago Grande di Monticchio

Sabine Wulf*, Michael Kraml, Jörg Keller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A detailed compilation of distal tephrostratigraphy comprising the last 20,000 yrs is given for the Central Mediterranean region. A total of 47 distinct ash layers identified in the maar lake sediments of Lago Grande di Monticchio (Basilicata, Southern Italy) are compared with proximal and distal terrestrial-marine tephra deposits in the circum-central Mediterranean region. The results of these studies provide valuable information for reconstructing the Late Pleistocene and the Holocene dispersal of pyroclastic deposits from south Italian explosive volcanoes, in particular Somma-Vesuvius, the Campi Flegrei caldera, Ischia Island and Mount Etna. Prominent tephras are discussed with respect to their reliability as dating and correlation tools in sedimentary records. Ashes from Plinian eruptions of Somma-Vesuvius (i.e. Avellino, Mercato, Greenish, Pomici di Base), for instance, are well-defined by their distribution patterns and their unique composition. The widespread Y-1 tephra from Mount Etna, on the other hand, derived most likely from two distinct Plinian events with changing wind conditions, and therefore becomes a less reliable stratigraphic marker. Statistical-numerical calculations are presented in order to discriminate between Holocene tephras from the Campi Flegrei caldera (i.e. Astroni 1-3, Agnano Monte Spina, Averno 1, Lagno Amendolare), since these ashes are characterized by an almost indistinguishable chemical fingerprint. As a highlight, numerous Campanian eruptions of proposed low-intensity have been identified in the distal site of Monticchio suggesting a revision of existing tephra dispersal maps and re-calculation of eruptive conditions. In summary, the tephra record of Monticchio is one of the key successions for linking both, terrestrial records from Central-southern Italy and marine sequences from the Tyrrhenian, Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-132
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Issue number1
Early online date12 Nov 2007
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2008


  • Central Mediterranean
  • Holocene
  • Italian volcanism
  • Lago Grande di Monticchio
  • Late Pleistocene
  • tephrostratigraphy

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