Vesuvius/Avellino, one possible source of seventeenth century BC climatic disturbances

Article metrics

Abstract

THE eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 (as described by Pliny) is the archetype1–4 of explosive 'plinian' eruptions which can cause recur-rent local destruction and which may affect global climate through aerosol emissions5–7. Studies of the past eruptions of such vol-canoes require accurate age determinations, especially if the erup-tions are to be correlated with distant events. Here we use materials from two plinian eruptions of Vesuvius, the AD 79 and the preceding Avelline1,8 event, to test the 14C methods that often provide these ages. Our 14C ages for charred samples and corrected soil reservoirs buried by the Avellino eruption averaged to 3,360 ±40 BP (1617–1703 cal BC), 200–500 years later than the original 14C ages of soil humic carbon9,10 and total organic carbon11. Furthermore, a re-evaluation of the 14C data for the Mount St Helens Yn and Aniakchak II eruptions suggests that these major plinian eruptions may also have occurred in the seventeenth century BC. The 14C ages for these three eruptions are identical, within uncertainties, to that of the 'Minoan’ eruption of Thera (Santorini), which has often been correlated with mid-seventeenth century BC disturb-ances recorded in tree-ring series12,13 and ice-core layers14. Addi-tional information is still required to distinguish which, if any, of the eruptions relate to these records.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Barbieri, F., Bizouard, H., Clocchiatti, R., Metrich, N., Santacroce, R. & Sbrana, A. Bull volcanol. 44, 295–315 (1981).

  2. 2

    Sigurdsson, H., Carey, S., Cornell, W. & Pescatore, T. Nat. Geol. Res. 1, 332–387 (1985).

  3. 3

    Carey, S. & Sigurdsson, H. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 99, 303–314 (1987).

  4. 4

    Carey, S. & Sigurdsson, H. Bull. volcanol. 51, 28–40 (1989).

  5. 5

    Rampino, M. R. & Self, S. Quat. Res. 18, 127–143 (1982).

  6. 6

    Rampino, M. R., Stothers, R. B. & Self, S. Nature 313, 272 (1985).

  7. 7

    Devine, J. D., Sigurdsson, H., Davis, A. N. & Self, S. J. geophys. Res. 89, 6309–6325 (1984).

  8. 8

    Lirer, L., Pescatore, T., Booth, B. & Walker, G. P. L. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 84, 759–772 (1973).

  9. 9

    Alessio, M., Bella, F., Improta, S., Belluomini, G., Cortesi, C. & Turi, B. Radiocarbon 13, 395–411 (1971).

  10. 10

    Alessio, M. et al. Radiocarbon 16, 358–367 (1974).

  11. 11

    Delibrias, G., Guillier, M.-T. & Labeyrie, J. Radiocarbon 28, 9–68 (1987).

  12. 12

    LaMarche, V. C. Jr. & Hirschboeck, K. K. Nature 307, 121–126 (1984).

  13. 13

    Baillie, M. G. L. & Munro, M. A. R. Nature 332, 344–346 (1988).

  14. 14

    Hammer, C. U., Clausen, H. B., Friedrich, W. L. & Tauber, H. Nature 328, 517–519 (1987).

  15. 15

    Geyh, M. A. & Roeschmann, G. Radiocarbon 25, 409–416 (1983).

  16. 16

    Delibrias, G., DiPaola, G. M., Rosi, M. & Santacroce, R. R. Soc. Ital. Miner. Petrol. 35, 411–438 (1979).

  17. 17

    Radice, B. (ed.) The Letters of the Younger Pliny (Penguin, New York, 1983).

  18. 18

    Sakai, C., Sakagami, K., Hamada, R. and Kurobe, T. Soil Sci. Plant Nutr. 28, 37–48 (1982).

  19. 19

    Vogel, J. S., Nelson, D. E. & Southon, J. R. Radiocarbon 31, 145–149 (1989).

  20. 20

    Campbell, C. A., Paul, E. A., Rennie, D. A. & McCallum, K. J. Soil Sci. 104, 217–224 (1967).

  21. 21

    Goh, K. M., Stout, J. D. & O'Brien, B. J. N.Z. J. Sci. 27, 69–72 (1984).

  22. 22

    Trumbore, S., Vogel, J. S. & Southon, J. Radiocarbon (in the press).

  23. 23

    Campbell, C. A., Paul, E. A., Rennie, D. A. & McCallum, K. J. Soil Sci. 104, 81–85 (1967).

  24. 24

    Stuiver, M. & Reimer, P. J. Radiocarbon 28, 1022–1030 (1986).

  25. 25

    Albore Livadie, C. Atti Acc. Naz. Lin. Not. S. Ant. 8, 59–101 (1981).

  26. 26

    Santacroce, R. J. Volcanol. geotherm. Res. 17, 237–248 (1983).

  27. 27

    Mullineaux, D. R., Hyde, J. H. & Rubin, M. J. Res. US geol. Surv. 3, 329–335 (1975).

  28. 28

    Simkin, T., Siebert, L., McClelland, L., Bridge, D., Newhall, C. & Latter, J. H. Volcanoes of the World (Hutchinson, Stroudsbourg, 1981).

  29. 29

    Luckman, B. H., Kearney, M. S., King, R. H. & Beaudoin, A. B. Can J. Earth Sci. 23, 734–736 (1986).

  30. 30

    Hoblitt, R. P., Crandell, D. R. & Mullineaux, D. R. Geology 8, 555–559 (1980).

  31. 31

    Miller, T. P. & Smith, R. L. Geology 15, 434–438 (1987).

  32. 32

    Cadogan, G. Nature 328, 473 (1987).

  33. 33

    Manning, S. W. Nature 332, 401 (1988).

  34. 34

    Hammer, C. U., Clausen, H. B., Friedrich, W. L. & Tauber, H. Nature 332, 401 (1988).

  35. 35

    Pyle, D. M. Archaeometry 31, 88–91 (1989).

  36. 36

    Sigurdsson, H., Devine, J. D. & Davis, A. N. Jökull 35, 1–8 (1985).

  37. 37

    Cornell, W. thesis, University of Rhode Island (1987).

  38. 38

    Peteet, D. M., Vogel, J. S., Nelson, D. E., Southon, J. R., Nickman, R. J. & Heusser, L. E. Quat. Res. (in the press).

  39. 39

    Brown, T. A., Nelson, D. E., Mathewes, R. W., Vogel, J. S. & Southon, J. R. Quat. Res. 32, 205–212 (1989).

  40. 40

    Stuiver, M. & Polach, H. Radiocarbon 19, 355–363 (1977).

  41. 41

    Stuiver, M. & Pearson, G. W. Radiocarbon 28, 805–838 (1986).

  42. 42

    King, R. H. Correlation of Quaternary Chronologies (ed. Mahaney, W. C.) 243–258 (Geobooks, Norwich, 1984).

  43. 43

    Zoltai, S. C. Can. J. Earth Sci. 26, 207–214 (1989).

  44. 44

    Westgate, J. A. Can. J. Earth Sci. 14, 2593–2600 (1977).

  45. 45

    Fulton, R. J. Geol. Surv. Can. Pap. 71-37, 19–21 (1971).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Vogel, J., Cornell, W., Nelson, D. et al. Vesuvius/Avellino, one possible source of seventeenth century BC climatic disturbances. Nature 344, 534–537 (1990) doi:10.1038/344534a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.