The Campania Plain is a wide coastal plain characterized by a huge quaternary sedimentary record more than two thousand meters thick. In order to analyze the most superficial portion of the infilling succession an 80 m-long core was drilled in the northern sector of the plain. The upper part of the core is entirely made up of an ignimbrite formation (Campania Ignimbrite, 39 ka), lying unconformably above marine sediments alternating with volcanic products.
Macro- and micro-paleontological analysis together with tephrostratigraphy and 39Ar/40Ar dating allowed the paleoenvironmental evolution of the studied area to be reconstructed. The paleogeography during OIS 7 and 5 was characterized by the presence of lagoon systems. These are now located 28 km inland from the present coastline and buried at −40 and −18 m with respect to the present sea level, as a consequence of tectonic subsidence.
Two major periods of volcanic activity were recorded in the core prior to Campania Ignimbrite emplacement, confirming the existence of important phases of volcanic activity in the plain during the end of the Middle Pleistocene.
The SME multiproxy record represents the first continuous record of volcanic products emplaced in the last 200 ka north of the Campania volcanic sources.