A Single-Year Cosmic Ray Event at 5410 BCE Registered in 14C of Tree Rings

F. Miyake, I. P. Panyushkina, A. J.T. Jull, F. Adolphi, N. Brehm, S. Helama, K. Kanzawa, T. Moriya, R. Muscheler, K. Nicolussi, M. Oinonen, M. Salzer, M. Takeyama, F. Tokanai, L. Wacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The annual 14C data in tree rings is an outstanding proxy for uncovering extreme solar energetic particle (SEP) events in the past. Signatures of extreme SEP events have been reported in 774/775 CE, 992/993 CE, and ∼660 BCE. Here, we report another rapid increase of 14C concentration in tree rings from California, Switzerland, and Finland around 5410 BCE. These 14C data series show a significant increase of ∼6‰ in 5411–5410 BCE. The signature of 14C variation is very similar to the confirmed three SEP events and points to an extreme short-term flux of cosmic ray radiation into the atmosphere. The rapid 14C increase in 5411/5410 BCE rings occurred during a period of high solar activity and 60 years after a grand 14C excursion during 5481–5471 BCE. The similarity of our 14C data to previous events suggests that the origin of the 5410 BCE event is an extreme SEP event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL093419
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 16 2021


  • cosmogenic nuclide
  • radiocarbon
  • solar activity
  • solar energetic particle
  • tree rings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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