Community-based Recommendations on Collection, Analysis and Correlation of Tephra Data

IAVCEI Commission on Tephrochronology

Tephra is a unique volcanic product that plays an unparalleled role in understanding past eruptions, long-term behavior of volcanoes, and the effects of volcanism on climate and the environment. Tephra deposits provide spatially widespread, extremely high-resolution time-stratigraphic markers across a range of sedimentary settings and are used in a range of disciplines (e.g. volcanology, seismotectonics, climate science, archaeology, ecology, public health and impact assessment). Nonetheless, the study of tephra deposits is challenged by the lack of standardization that often prevents comparison amongst various regions and across disciplines.

A permanent Zenodo record of suggested best-practice recommendations when using tephra has been established by the global interdisciplinary tephra community.

View the Best Practice Recommendations

For additional details on tephra data collection, analysis and correlation, see the manuscript submitted to Nature Scientific Data in October 2020:

Wallace, K., Bursik, M. Kuehn, S., Kurbatov, A., Abbott, P., Bonadonna, C., Cashman, K., Davies, S., Jensen, B., Lane, C., Plunkett, G., Smith, V. Tomlinson, E., Thordarsson, T., and Walker, D. Community Established Best Practice Recommendations for Tephra Studies-from Collection through Analysis. (Scientific Data: SDATA-20-01163, in review: 2020)

For legacy information on the development of the tephra best practices recommendations, see the Vhub Repository and Vhub

Data Submission Workflow

Geochemical data related to tephra studies can be submitted for long-term archiving with DOIs in the EarthChem Library (ECL) Repository. Please review the ECL General Guidelines and Policies before submitting a dataset.

To ensure your geochemical tephra data is FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) please document the following:

Method Information

You must provide information regarding how the data was collected. The method template can be registered with a DOI once to reflect the procedures of the lab. It can be reused in future work by citing the DOI in the data template.

Sample Information

To catalogue metadata and receive unique identifiers (IGSN) for samples that you own, please use the tephra sample templates. These templates were developed by mapping the tephra best practices recommendations to the sample metadata requested for registration and sample cataloguing in SESAR.

If you are not registering samples in SESAR, you must include the tephra sample template in your ECL data submission to provide sample metadata.

Analytical Data Information

The tephra data template is meant to facilitate and standardize data reporting, following the best practices identified by the community.

Before you submit your data to the EarthChem Library, please ensure you  have the relevant method and sample information, as outlined above.

Following this workflow will expedite your submission process. Data curation, publishing and DOI timelines may take up to two weeks, pending on the completeness of the submitted metadata.

T Y es No Y es No Register samples with IGSN Download Data Template Download Sample Template Do your samples have IGSNs? Submit your Method for DOI Download Method Template Does the method have a DOI? Create ORCID Profile Submit Data for DOI Create SESAR Account

Tephra Sample Metadata Templates

Use the Comprehensive templates to upload the full suite of your tephra metadata. Use the Simplified templates if you are only looking to make your samples discoverable and plan to maintain you own more detailed metadata records elsewhere.  The tephra community highly recommends use of the Comprehensive template to record your metadata.

If you have questions about how to fill out these templates, please reach out to

Analytical Data Templates

Data templates are currently available for tephra glass samples. If your data is not compatible with this template, please reach out to

Method Templates

Use these templates to register your machine calibration data for EPMA or LA-ICP-MS. Submit this template for publication with DOI. The DOI should be cited whenever you are publishing data associated with this technique.