Constraining the onset of the Holocene "Neoglacial" over the central Italy using tephra layers

Giovanni Zanchetta, Carlo Giraudi, Roberto Sulpizio, Michel Magny, Russell N. Drysdale, Laura Sadori

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A study of six tephra layers discovered in different deposits between 1600 and 2700 m. a.s.l. in the Apennine chain in central Italy allowed precise stratigraphic constraints on environmental and climatic changes between ca. 4.5 and 3.8. cal ka BP. Chemical analyses allowed the correlation of these tephra layers with the eruptions of Agnano Mt Spina (AMST) from Phlegrean Field and Avellino (AVT) from Somma-Vesuvius. Major environmental changes in the high mountains of the Central Apennines occurred just after the deposition of the AMST and predate the deposition of the AVT. At this time, renewed growth of the Calderone Glacier occurred, marking the onset of the Apennine "Neoglacial". The presence of the AMST and AVT enabled us to make a precise, physical correlation with other archives in central Italy. Synchronization of records between sites showed that the period intervening the deposition of the AMST and AVT layers coincided with environmental changes that were not always exactly in phase. This highlights the fact that stratigraphic correlations using only radiocarbon chronologies (the most common method used for dating archives during the Holocene) could produce erroneous correlation of events, giving rise to oversimplified paleoclimatic reconstructions. © 2012 University of Washington.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236 - 247
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Zanchetta, G., Giraudi, C., Sulpizio, R., Magny, M., Drysdale, R. N., & Sadori, L. (2012). Constraining the onset of the Holocene "Neoglacial" over the central Italy using tephra layers. Quaternary Research, 78(2), 236 - 247.