A great volcanic eruption around AD 1300 recorded in lacustrine sediment from Dongdao Island, South China Sea

  • YI LIU
  • LIGUANG SUNEmail author


The contents of Ti, Al and Fe 2 O 3 in a lacustrine sediment core (DY6) collected from Dongdao Island, South China Sea (SCS), were determined to be much higher than those in the three major sediment end-members (coral sand, guano and plants), and their likely sources include terrigenous dust and volcanic ash. At 61 cm (∼AD 1300), the contents of Ti, Al and Fe 2 O 3 have an abnormally high spike, which cannot be explained by terrigenous dust. The Sr and Nd isotope compositions at 61 cm are in excellent agreement with those in volcanic materials, but they are significantly different from those in terrigenous dust, implying a possible material input from historical volcanic eruptions in the lacustrine sediment DY6. The documented great Samalas volcanic eruption at AD 1257 in Indonesia is likely the candidate for this volcanic eruption.


South China Sea element analysis Sr and Nd isotope compositions volcanic ash AD 1257 Samalas 



The research was supported by ‘Strategic Priority Research Program’ of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA11030104) and Key Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZZD–EW–TZ–15–2). We are grateful to the P R China troops in Xi–Sha atoll for their assistance in sampling.


  1. Briffa K R, Jones P D, Schweingruber F H and Osborn T J 1998 Influence of volcanic eruptions on Northern Hemisphere summer temperature over the past 600 years; Nature 393 450–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Genshaft Y S, Pecherskiy D M, Borsuk A M and Tsvetkov 1984 Titanomagnetite in magmatic rocks of the Komandorskiye Island as indicators of the geodynamic regime; Int. Geol. Rev 26 1071–1081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Haberzettl T et al. 2008 Hydrological variability in southeastern Patagonia and explosive volcanic activity in the southern Andean Cordillera during Oxygen Isotope Stage 3 and the Holocene inferred from lake sediments of Laguna Potrok Aike, Argentina; Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 259 213–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jiang F, Frank M, Li T, Chen T, Xu Z and Li A 2013 Asian dust input in the western Philippine Sea: Evidence from radiogenic Sr and Nd isotopes; Geochem. Geophys. Geosys. 14 1538–1551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kelly P M and Sear C B 1984 Climatic impact of explosive volcanic eruptions; Nature 311 740–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kilian R, Hohner M, Biester H, Wallrabe-Adams H J and Stern C R 2003 Holocene peat and lake sediment tephra record from the southernmost Chilean Andes (53–55 S); Revista Geológica de Chile 30 23–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lavigne F et al. 2013 Source of the great AD 1257 mystery eruption unveiled, Samalas volcano, Rinjani Volcanic Complex, Indonesia; Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 110 16,742–16,747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lin X, Chen X, Wang F, Xiong S and Liu S 1999 The research report of climate investigation on sea islands of Hainan province; In: The professional proceedings of the integrated investigation research on sea islands resource of Hainan province; Beijing, China Ocean Press, pp. 24–35 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  9. Liu X et al. 2006 Geochemical evidence for the variation of historical seabird population on Dongdao Island of the South China Sea; J. Paleolimnol. 36 259–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Liu X, Sun L, Wei G, Wang Y, Yan H, Liu K and Wu X 2008 A 1100-year palaeoenvironmental record inferred from stable isotope and trace element compositions of ostracode and plant caryopses in sediments of Cattle Pond, Dongdao Island, South China Sea; J. Paleolimnol. 40 987–1002.Google Scholar
  11. Liu Y, Sun L, Luo Y, Sun S and Wang Y 2013 Records of terrigenous dust in lacustrine sediments from Dongdao island, South China Sea; Mar. Geol. Quat. Geol. 33 (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  12. Liu Y, Sun L, Zhou X, Luo Y, Huang W, Yang C, Wang Y and Huang T 2014 A 1400-year terrigenous dust record on a coral island in South China Sea; Sci. Rep. UK 4.Google Scholar
  13. Mann M E, Cane M A, Zebiak S E and Clement A 2005 Volcanic and solar forcing of the tropical Pacific over the past 1000 years; J. Climate 18 447–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McGlone M, Neall V and Clarkson B 1988 The effect of recent volcanic events and climatic changes on the vegetation of Mt Egmont (Mt Taranaki), New Zealand; New Zeal. J. Bot. 26 123–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Muhs D R and Budahn J R 2009 Geochemical evidence for African dust and volcanic ash inputs to terra rossa soils on carbonate reef terraces, northern Jamaica, West Indies; Quat. Int. 196 13–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ninkovich D 1968 Pleistocene volcanic eruptions in New Zealand recorded in deep-sea sediments; Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 4 89–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Plummer C, Curran M, Ommen T D, Rasmussen S, Moy A, Vance T, Clausen H, Vinther B and Mayewski P 2012 An independently dated 2000-yr volcanic record from Law Dome, East Antarctica, including a new perspective on the dating of the 1450s CE eruption of Kuwae, Vanuatu; Clim. Past. 8 1929–1940.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Trenberth K E and Dai A 2007 Effects of Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption on the hydrological cycle as an analog of geoengineering; Geophys. Res. Lett. 34.Google Scholar
  19. Watkins N, Sparks R, Sigurdsson H, Huang T, Federman A, Carey S and Ninkovich D 1978 Volume and extent of the Minoan tephra from Santorini Volcano: New evidence from deep-sea sediment cores; Nature 122–126.Google Scholar
  20. Zhao S, Sun L, Liu X, Xie Z, Luo H, Liu K, Wu X, Ding X and Fu D 2007 Using Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios as source indicators of ornithogenic lacustrine sediments on coral island; Quat. Sci. 27 149–156 (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  21. Zielinski G A, Mayewski P A, Meeker L D and Whitlow S 1994 Record of volcanism since 7000 BC from the GISP2 Greenland ice core and implications for the volcano–climate system; Science 264 948–952.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2017

Authors and Affiliations

    • 1
    • 1
    • 1
    • 1
  • YI LIU
    • 2
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Polar Environment, School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.National Synchrotron Radiation LaboratoryUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations