Carbon-14 Dating Deposits from the Tatun Volcanic Group of Northern Taiwan

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

To reconstruct the character and timing of the most recent eruptions of the Tatun Volcanic Group (TVG) of Northern Taiwan, geologists investigated the stratigraphy of the youngest volcaniclastic deposits and the morphology of lava flows and domes of the volcanoes.

Radiocarbon dating was used in this study to determine when the most recent eruptions occurred. The researchers say their study presents the first radiocarbon dates of various volcaniclastic deposits of the TVG. They sent samples to radiocarbon dating lab Beta Analytic in Miami, Florida, and their results suggest that the Cising, Siaoguanyin, and possibly Huangzuei volcanoes had magmatic eruptions 13,000 to 23,000 years ago.

The researchers described the eruptions to be dominated by long-term, voluminous extrusions of crystal-rich, very viscous lavas. The lava flows were 80 to 150 meters in thickness and up to 5.6 km in length with lava front speeds from 0.5 to 6 meter per hour. The eruptions lasted from 500 to 1,800 days and had magma effusion ranging from 1 to 10 m3/s. Another eruption will indeed be devastating to nearby Taipei City.

The researchers say the TVG should be considered active volcanoes. The results of their study could provide a basis for volcanic hazard assessment and mitigation.

Source: Deposits, character and timing of recent eruptions and gravitational collapses in Tatun Volcanic Group, Northern Taiwan: Hazard-related issues by Alexander Belousov, et al., Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research Volume 191, Issues 3-4, 1 April 2010, Pages 205-221

Chihsingshan (七星山) Volcano has the highest peak of all the Tatun volcanoes in Taiwan. It is 1120 meters in height. Image author Peellden (Wikimedia Commons)


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