The suitability of quartz optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and feldspar infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) for the direct dating of phreatic eruptions was tested on examples from the Eifel Volcanic Field, Germany. The mean IRSL age of 11.6 ± 0.5 ka for Ulmener Maar Tephra is in excellent agreement with the independent age control (11 ± 0.1 ka), but the mean OSL age of 14.2 ± 0.6 ka overestimates the known age by 3 ka. For Meerfelder Maar Tephra, consistent IRSL (mean 74.9 ± 5.0 ka) and OSL ages (74.9 ± 5.5 ka) have been observed. The consistent results from Meerfelder Maar imply that the overestimation observed for Ulmener Maar quartz OSL might not be relative to the eruption age, but rather represents a small absolute offset. In samples taken from deposits of the eruption of Laacher See Volcano, no resetting of the OSL signal and highly scattered IRSL estimates were found. This implies that phreatomagmatic eruptions are less well suited for this dating approach compared to pure phreatic maar eruptions, where the effect of high-pressure shock waves probably dominates the process of resetting the luminescence signal.

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