Is there a link between explosive volcanism and the Earth’s climate? with Suzanne Straub

by | Jul 24, 2023 | Earthquakes & Volcanoes

19 Dec 2020

Suzanne Straub

The logarithmic volcanic explosivity index (VEI) of explosive volcanic eruptions is measured on a scale 0 to 7. While smaller eruptions like the Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980 (VEI ~5.0) rarely affect the global climate, the VEI = 7 eruption of Mt Tambora in 1815 influence is famous for having affected the global climate for several years, causing famine and disease in the Northern Hemisphere (‘year without summer’). How frequent are such large eruptions, and do they have the potential to influence the waxing and waning of the Quaternary ice cycles, that shape the face of historic Earth? In the project we test this connection by analyzing a 2.6 million years old archive of past major volcanic eruptions (VEI ~6-7) that was left in form of ash beds in the marine sediment of the Northwest Pacific ocean basin.

Youtube video of this sessionSusanne’s slide show (pdf)Introductory slide show (pdf)

Related resources:

Ocean Drilling Program Scientific Results Volume 145 (

100- kyr cyclicity in volcanic ash
emplacement: evidence from a 1.1Myr tephra record from the NW Pacific

The role of dispersed ash in orbital-scale timeseries studies of explosive arc volcanism: insights from IODP Hole U1437B, Northwest Pacific Ocean