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Planktonic Foram Dates from the Indonesian Arc: Marine 14C Reservoir Ages and a Mythical AD 535 Eruption of Krakatau

  • John Southon (a1), Mahyar Mohtadi (a2) and Ricardo De Pol-Holz (a3)


The Indonesian Arc represents the subduction of the Indian-Australian plate beneath Asia. It has been the scene of catastrophic tectonic activity, including the recent 2004 M=9.1 Aceh earthquake and resulting Indian Ocean tsunami. We have dated planktonic forams associated with historic tephras (Tambora, 1815 and Krakatau, 1883) in marine sediment cores to determine radiocarbon reservoir ages for 2 locations along the arc. Our best estimates for 19th century regional reservoir corrections (ΔR) are +90 ± 40 yr for surface-dwelling species and +220 ± 40 yr for mixed planktic assemblages containing some upper thermocline species, but scatter in the data suggests that past surface reservoir ages may have varied by about ±100 yr. We used the results of this study to investigate a proposed very large AD 535 eruption at or near Krakatau. We find no evidence for ash from such an eruption, and although this is negative evidence, we consider it sufficiently strong to rule out any possibility that one took place.


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