Absolute dating volcanic ash layers
The science of geochronology is the prime tool used in the discipline of chronostratigraphy, which attempts to derive absolute age dates for all fossil assemblages and determine the geologic history of the Earth and extraterrestrial bodies.
This means they provide accurate temporal marker layers which can be used to verify or corroborate other dating techniques, linking sequences widely separated by location into a unified chronology that correlates climatic sequences and events. Major volcanoes which have been used in tephrochronological studies include Vesuvius, Hekla and Santorini.
Tephrochronology requires accurate geochemical fingerprinting (usually via an electron microprobe). ka BP), forming a horizon in the late Pre-Boreal of Northern Europe, the Vedde ash (also Icelandic in origin, c. ka BP) and the Laacher See tephra (in the Eifel volcanic field, c. Minor volcanic events may also leave their fingerprint in the geological record: Hayes Volcano is responsible for a series of six major tephra layers in the Cook Inlet region of Alaska.
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