New paper: tephra is reliably preserved in peat cores across a site

Tephra shard from the Eyjafjallajokull 2010 eruption“Spatial variability of tephra and carbon accumulation in a Holocene peatland” by Liz Watson et al. has just appeared in QSR. Liz is a PhD student at the University of Leeds, co-supervised by Ian Lawson. This study looked at fifteen peat cores from Fallahogy Mire, Northern Ireland, to test the extent to which records of cryptotephra from individual cores are representative of tephra distribution across the whole site. The three tephras searched for – Hekla 1947, Hekla 1845 and Hekla 1510 – were all present in 14¬†out of 15 cores. This should give us confidence that, on ombrotrophic, unforested mires at least, cryptotephra records are likely to be reasonably reliable even if based on a single record. On the other hand, the rate of carbon accumulation across the site turned out to be more variable than we expected, which has interesting implications for process-based studies of carbon sequestration on peatlands.