EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A millennial-scale tephra event-stratigraphic record of the South China Sea since the penultimate interglacial

Deming Kong1,2,3, Weijia Feng1, jiawen Yang1, Chuang Bao1, and Min-Te Chen4
Deming Kong et al.
  • 1Laboratory for Coastal Ocean Variation and Disaster Prediction, College of Ocean and Meteorology, Guangdong Ocean University, Zhanjiang, Guangdong 524088 (
  • 2Key Laboratory of Climate, Resources and Environment in Continental Shelf Sea and Deep Sea of Department of Education of Guangdong Province, Guangdong Ocean University, Zhanjiang, Guangdong 524088
  • 3Shenzhen Research Institute of Guangdong Ocean University, Shenzhen 518108
  • 4Institute of Earth Sciences, & Center of Excellence for the Oceans & Center of Excellence for Ocean Engineering, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung 202, Taiwan (

Large volcanic eruptions have significant impacts on climate and environmental changes. The deposition of tephra in marine sediments may serve as an eruption recorder, but it has not been extensively studied in the western Pacific. This study explored a millennial-scale tephra event-stratigraphy with multiple indicators in a sediment core collected from the eastern South China Sea (SCS) basin. The magnetic susceptibility (MS), Fe and Mn concentration determined by X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and identification of individual ash particles were used to identify tephra layers and reconstruct the history of volcanic activity. Nine visible volcaniclastic units (VVU) and two cryptotephra layers have been identified based on their distinct features, as manifested by high MS, Fe, and Mn concentrations, and single-peak grain size distribution. The VVUs and cryptotephra layers reveal elevated volcanic activities. Using the radiocarbon age model and oxygen isotope stratigraphy, these episodes could roughly correspond to the following periods: 1-11 ka, 16-17 ka, 27-31 ka, 41-42 ka, 45-46 ka, 49-50 ka, 77-80 ka, 90-91 ka, 97-99 ka, 116-126 ka, and 132-140 ka. The alkenone-derived SST has significant glacial cycles and good synchronicity with other SCS SST records, which could partially help build the preliminary age model. Despite possible age errors larger than 1 kyr, the discovery and timing of tephra layers provide a preliminary framework to further investigate the impact of historical volcanic eruptions on climate changes.

How to cite: Kong, D., Feng, W., Yang, J., Bao, C., and Chen, M.-T.: A millennial-scale tephra event-stratigraphic record of the South China Sea since the penultimate interglacial, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-4626,, 2023.