Abstract

Geochemical identification of Mount Mazama ash in the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) ice core gives a calendrical age of 7627 ± 150 cal yr B.P. (5677 ± 150 B.C.) for the eruption, thus providing a more accurate early Holocene stratigraphic time line than previously available. The GISP2 record of volcanically derived sulfate suggests a total stratospheric aerosol loading between 88 and 224 Mt spread over an ∼6 yr period following the eruption of Mount Mazama. Taking into account the likelihood of some tropospheric aerosol transport to Greenland, realistic estimates of the resulting atmospheric optical depth range from 0.6 to 1.5. These values may have produced a temperature depression of ∼0.6 to 0.7 °C at mid to high northern latitudes for 1–3 yr after the eruption. These results indicate that the 5677 B.C. eruption of Mount Mazama was one of the most climatically significant volcanic events of the Holocene in the Northern Hemisphere. We also calculate a maximum stratospheric Cl release of 8.1 Mt by the eruption, which may have led to substantial stratospheric ozone depletion.

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