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Ecosystem Impact of the Campanian Ignimbrite Eruption in Late Pleistocene Europe

  • Francesco G. Fedele (a1), Biagio Giaccio (a2), Roberto Isaia (a3) and Giovanni Orsi (a3)


The dating of the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) eruption to ∼37,000 cal yr B.P. draws attention to the coincidence of this volcanic catastrophe and the suite of coeval, Late Pleistocene biocultural changes that occurred within and outside the Mediterranean region. These included the Middle to Upper Paleolithic cultural transition and the supposed change from Neanderthal to “modern” Homo sapiens anatomy, a subject of sustained debate. No less than 150 km3 of magma were extruded in the CI eruption, the signal of which can be detected in Greenland ice cores. As widespread discontinuities in archaeological sequences are observed at or following the CI event, a significant interference with ongoing human processes in Mediterranean Europe is hypothesized.


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