Accurately dating Holocene volcanic rocks poses many challenges but is critical to assessing magmatic evolution and hazard risks at highly active volcanoes. Here we use Ra/Th and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology to date very young eruptions at Changbaishan volcano, northeastern China, a recently active stratovolcano responsible for one of the most voluminous eruptions in the past ∼2000 yr. For Holocene eruptions, 40Ar/39Ar ages are consistently older than those of both independently determined ages and maximum Ra/Th ages. Overall, Ra/Th ages are most consistent with historical accounts and indicate inaccurate 40Ar/39Ar ages that are due to extraneous argon in various forms. Ra/Th geochronology also confirms the highly active nature of Changbaishan and supports the continued presence of trachytic magma residing under the volcano that appeared more than ∼1100 yr ago.

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