Researchers show life in South Africa after super-eruption 74,000 years ago

A team of scientists led by HERI’s Dr Jayne Wilkins has shown that humans in South Africa survived and thrived 74,000 years ago, despite the eruption of super-volcano Toba.

The research, published in the journal Nature, identifies cryptoephra in samples taken from a site in Vleesbaai, a seaside region in the Western Cape.

The work adds to research around the impact of Mount Toba’s eruption. Largely considered the most powerful eruption in the last two million years, it has been argued that it caused a long-lived volcanic winter that may have devastated ecosystems around the world.

Wilkins and her team now show that along the food-rich coastline of southern Africa, people thrived through this mega-eruption, perhaps because of the uniquely rich food regime on this coastline.

Read more details of the research and its impact here.