Dataset Open Access

Community Established Best Practice Recommendations for Tephra Studies-from Collection through Analysis

Abbott, Peter; Bonadonna, Costanza; Bursik, Marcus; Cashman, Katherine; Davies, Siwan; Jensen, Britta; Kuehn, Stephen; Kurbatov, Andrei; Lane, Christine; Plunkett, Gill; Smith, Victoria; Thomlinson, Emma; Thordarsson, Thor; Walker, J. Douglas; Wallace, Kristi

Tephra is a unique volcanic product with an unparalleled role in understanding past eruptions, long-term behavior of volcanoes, and the effects of volcanism on climate and the environment. Tephra deposits also 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, climate science, archaeology, ecology, and impact assessment). Nonetheless, the study of tephra deposits is challenged by a lack of standardization that often inhibits data integration across geographic regions and across disciplines.

Here we present comprehensive recommendations for tephra data gathering and reporting that were developed by the tephra science community to serve as guidelines for future investigators and to ensure that sufficient data are gathered for transparency and interoperability.  Recommendations include standardized field and laboratory data collection along with reporting and correlation guidance. These are organized as tabulated lists of key metadata with their definition and purpose. They are system independent and usable for template, tool, and database development.  This new standardized framework promotes consistent tephra documentation and archiving, fosters interdisciplinary communication, and improves effectiveness of data sharing among diverse communities of researchers.  Wider adoption will help to expand the applicability and usability of tephra data and facilitate scientific collaboration and data reuse.

For additional details, see the accompanying manuscript:

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. Sci Data 9, 447 (2022).

*corresponding author:  Kristi Wallace,

Open access article is available online here or as a PDF here

Tephra data templates developed from the tephra best-practice recommendations and intended for sample registration and data upload to SESAR and EarthChem can be download from the EarthChem tephra portal ( and submitted for upload or used independently as data entry templates for personal use. Tephra data templates include: (a) sample information, (b) analytical method descriptions, and (c) geochemical data.
Files (776.5 kB)
Name Size
531.4 kB Download
184.8 kB Download
1.2 kB Download
54.0 kB Download
5.1 kB Download
All versions This version
Views 3,989515
Downloads 707171
Data volume 162.8 MB41.8 MB
Unique views 3,317438
Unique downloads 35094


Cite as