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Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 6;7:45940. doi: 10.1038/srep45940.

High-precision 14C and 40Ar/39Ar dating of the Campanian Ignimbrite (Y-5) reconciles the time-scales of climatic-cultural processes at 40 ka.

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CNR - Istituto di Geologia Ambientale e Geoingegneria (IGAG), Via Salaria km 29.300, 00015 Monterotondo, Rome, Italy.
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland.
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Napoli, Osservatorio Vesuviano, Via Diocleziano 328, 80124 Naples, Italy.
Berkeley Geochronology Center, 2455 Ridge Road, Berkeley, California 94709, USA.
Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de L'Environnement (IPSL-CEA-CNRS-UVSQ) et Université de Paris-Saclay, Domaine du CNRS Bât. 12, Avenue de la Terrasse, 91198 Gif sur Yvette, France.


The Late Pleistocene Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) super-eruption (Southern Italy) is the largest known volcanic event in the Mediterranean area. The CI tephra is widely dispersed through western Eurasia and occurs in close stratigraphic association with significant palaeoclimatic and Palaeolithic cultural events. Here we present new high-precision 14C (34.29 ± 0.09 14C kyr BP, 1σ) and 40Ar/39Ar (39.85 ± 0.14 ka, 95% confidence level) dating results for the age of the CI eruption, which substantially improve upon or augment previous age determinations and permit fuller exploitation of the chronological potential of the CI tephra marker. These results provide a robust pair of 14C and 40Ar/39Ar ages for refining both the radiocarbon calibration curve and the Late Pleistocene time-scale at ca. 40 ka. In addition, these new age constraints provide compelling chronological evidence for the significance of the combined influence of the CI eruption and Heinrich Event 4 on European climate and potentially evolutionary processes of the Early Upper Palaeolithic.

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