Bulletin of Volcanology

, 76:802 | Cite as

Post 19 ka B.P. eruptive history of Ulleung Island, Korea, inferred from an intra-caldera pyroclastic sequence

  • G. B. Kim
  • S. J. Cronin
  • W. S. Yoon
  • Y. K. Sohn
Research Article


Ulleung Island is a Quaternary volcanic island located in the mid-western part of the East Sea (Sea of Japan) back-arc basin, which has erupted from the Pliocene until the late Holocene. This study focuses on reconstructing the latest eruptive history of the island by describing the sedimentological and stratigraphic characteristics of the most recent, trachytic/phonolitic pyroclastic sequence, named the Nari Tephra Formation. This formation is preserved as a succession of unwelded pyroclastic and epiclastic deposits within an embayed margin of the Nari Caldera. The embayment acted as a topographic trap for proximal pyroclastic deposits, and contains a complete record of the past 19,000 years of eruption history. The formation includes evidence for five separate eruptive episodes (Member N-1 to N-5), with intervening weathered and/or soil horizons indicating hundreds to thousands of years of repose between each eruption. Eruption styles and depositional mechanisms varied between and during individual episodes, reflecting changing dynamics of the magma plumbing system, magmatic gas coupling, and a variable role of external water. Extra-caldera sequences show that only a few of these eruptions generated sustained eruption columns or pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) large enough to overtop the caldera wall. Thus tephra sequences outside the caldera provide an underestimate of eruption frequency, and care needs to be taken in the interpretation and correlation to distal tephra sequences recognized in marine and terrestrial records. In addition, topographic effects of caldera structures should be considered for the assessment of PDC-related hazards in such moderately sized pyroclastic eruptions.


Caldera Eruptive episode Tephra Ulleung Island Pyroclastic 



This work was supported by Basic Science Research Program to YKS (2009-0079427) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education. We are grateful for the careful and constructive reviews and comments by Károly Németh and an anonymous reviewer and the editorial guidance by Clive Oppenheimer.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. B. Kim
    • 1
  • S. J. Cronin
    • 3
  • W. S. Yoon
    • 4
  • Y. K. Sohn
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Research Institute of Natural SciencesGyeongsang National UniversityJinjuSouth Korea
  3. 3.Volcanic Risk SolutionsMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  4. 4.Department of Earth and Marine Sciences/Marine and Environmental research InstituteJeju National UniversityJejuSouth Korea

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