Precise date for the Laacher See eruption synchronizes the Younger Dryas

Reinig, Frederick; Wacker, Lukas; Jöris, Olaf; Oppenheimer, Clive; Guidobaldi, Giulia; Nievergelt, Daniel; Adolphi, Florian; Cherubini, Paolo; Engels, Stefan; Esper, Jan; Land, Alexander; Lane, Christine; Pfanz, Hardy; Remmele, Sabine; Sigl, Michael; Sookdeo, Adam; Büntgen, Ulf (2021). Precise date for the Laacher See eruption synchronizes the Younger Dryas. Nature, 595(7865), pp. 66-69. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41586-021-03608-x

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The Laacher See eruption (LSE) in Germany ranks among Europe’s largest volcanic events of the Upper Pleistocene (1,2). Although tephra deposits of the LSE represent an important isochron for the synchronization of proxy archives at the Late Glacial to Early Holocene transition (3), uncertainty in the age of the eruption has prevailed (4). Here we present dendrochronological and radiocarbon measurements of subfossil trees that were buried by pyroclastic deposits that firmly date the LSE to 13,006 ± 9 calibrated years before present (bp; taken as ad 1950), which is more than a century earlier than previously accepted. The revised age of the LSE necessarily shifts the chronology of European varved lakes (5,6) relative to the Greenland ice core record, thereby dating the onset of the Younger Dryas to 12,807 ± 12 calibrated years bp, which is around 130 years earlier than thought. Our results synchronize the onset of the Younger Dryas across the North Atlantic–European sector, preclude a direct link between the LSE and Greenland Stadial-1 cooling (7), and suggest a large-scale common mechanism of a weakened Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation under warming conditions (8–10).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Sigl, Michael


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Springer Nature


[18] European Research Council


[1314] Timing of Holocene volcanic eruptions and their radiative aerosol forcing




Michael Sigl

Date Deposited:

26 Oct 2021 09:46

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:53

Publisher DOI:





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