GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 21-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


KUEHN, Stephen, Ph.D., Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, Concord University, P O Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712, BURSIK, Marcus I., Center for Geohazards Studies, University at Buffalo, 126 Cooke Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260-1350, GORING, Simon, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 550 N Park St, Madison, WI 53706, KODAMA, Samuel, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York, NY 10025, KURBATOV, Andrei, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5790, LEHNERT, Kerstin A., Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964, PROFETA, Lucia, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Rte 9W, Palisades, NY 10964; Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York, NY 10025, RAMDEEN, Sarah, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Rte 9W, Palisades, NY 10964, QUINN, Daven P., Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1215 W Dayton St, Madison, WI 53706, WALLACE, Kristi, U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Volcano Observatory, 4210 University Dr, Anchorage, AK 99508 and WALKER, Douglas, Department of Geology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045

Volcanic ash and tuff, or tephra, are critical to geoscientists and archaeologists as widespread time stratigraphic markers and as indicators of past volcanic activity. Research into tephra production, distribution, and characterization supports the use of tephra as a tool for global, interdisciplinary research. These broad uses of tephra will be enhanced by ensuring that tephra data is FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) and interconnected. Interdisciplinary use of tephra has exacerbated issues related to data access and integration created by data fragmentation, incomplete documentation, and a lack of standardization across the broader community. The explosion of cryptotephra studies has also made traditional regional and lab-specific data compilations insufficient for many applications because the potential volcanic sources that must now be considered may be spread across an entire hemisphere or further. Domain experts must establish a framework for data interoperability to ensure the continued growth of tephra as a critical element within the geoscientific framework.

Recommendations for best practices in tephra studies, from sample collection through analysis and data reporting ( have been developed and are being incorporated into digital tools and data repositories. Widespread adoption will improve the effectiveness of data sharing among the diverse community of tephra researchers and users. Here we report on 1) templates for sample, method, and data reporting, 2) a tephra module in the StraboSpot field app (, and 3) implementations at SESAR and EarthChem, including a tephra community portal ( Implementation in the Sparrow laboratory data system ( is underway. We also report on re-usable analytical method descriptors, now implemented at EarthChem, and the association of sample and quality control reference material data for individual analytical sessions. Data linking is facilitated by extensive use of unique identifiers including ORCIDs for people, IGSNs for field sites and samples; DOIs for publications, data, and methods; and Smithsonian IDs for volcanoes and eruptions. These developments allow users to follow simple workflows to archive data and facilitate faster access to key research by secondary users.