Published: January 08, 2014
A mural excavated at the Neolithic Çatalhöyük site (Central Anatolia, Turkey) has been interpreted as the oldest known map. Dating to ~6600 BCE, it putatively depicts an explosive summit eruption of the Hasan Dagi twin-peaks volcano located ~130 km northeast of Çatalhöyük, and a birds-eye view of a town plan in the foreground. This interpretation, however, has remained controversial not least because independent evidence for a contemporaneous explosive volcanic eruption of Hasan Dagi has been lacking. Here, we document the presence of andesitic pumice veneer on the summit of Hasan Dagi, which we dated using (U-Th)/He zircon geochronology. The (U-Th)/He zircon eruption age of 8.97±0.64 ka (or 6960±640 BCE; uncertainties 2σ) overlaps closely with 14C ages for cultural strata at Çatalhöyük, including level VII containing the “map” mural. A second pumice sample from a surficial deposit near the base of Hasan Dagi records an older explosive eruption at 28.9±1.5 ka. U-Th zircon crystallization ages in both samples range from near-eruption to secular equilibrium (>380 ka). Collectively, our results reveal protracted intrusive activity at Hasan Dagi punctuated by explosive venting, and provide the first radiometric ages for a Holocene explosive eruption which was most likely witnessed by humans in the area. Geologic and geochronologic lines of evidence thus support previous interpretations that residents of Çatalhöyük artistically represented an explosive eruption of Hasan Dagi volcano. The magmatic longevity recorded by quasi-continuous zircon crystallization coupled with new evidence for late-Pleistocene and Holocene explosive eruptions implicates Hasan Dagi as a potential volcanic hazard.
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Source: Plos One http://www.plosone.org
Copyright: © 2014 Schmitt et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Axel K. Schmitt, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America; Martin Danisík, Affiliation: Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand; Erkan Aydar, Affiliation: ATERRA R&D, Yuksel Cad. 30/8, Kizilay, Ankara, Turkey; Erdal Sen, Affiliation: Department of Geological Engineering, Hacettepe University, Beytepe, Ankara, Turkey, Inan Ulusoy, Affiliation: Department of Geological Engineering, Hacettepe University, Beytepe, Ankara, Turkey ; Oscar M. Lovera Affiliation: Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America