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Age of the Younger Laxá Lava and Lake Mývatn, Northern Iceland, Determined by AMS Radiocarbon Dating

Ulf Hauptfleisch, Árni Einarsson

Abstract


Lake Mývatn and several smaller lakes in northern Iceland were formed by the large Holocene lava flow of the Younger Laxá Lava (YLL). The age of the YLL was estimated by tephrochronology at 1800–2300 BP (Thorarinsson 1951). Conventional radiocarbon dating of charred vegetation beneath the YLL (Thorarinsson 1964) yielded uncalibrated ages of 1940 ± 270 14C yr BP (Yale), 2110 ± 140 14C yr BP (Copenhagen), and 1990 ± 50 14C yr BP (Winnipeg). Ongoing paleolimnological research at Lake Mývatn requires a more precise age estimation of the YLL. Charcoal samples from beneath the YLL was collected at Presthvammur in 2007 and analyzed by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C measurements. The reliability of the conventional 14C ages of the samples Yale, Copenhagen, and Winnipeg was re-evaluated, applying criteria from Pettit et al. (2003) and Graf (2009). The result of AMS 14C measurement (2170 ± 38 cal yr BP) underpins the local tephrochronology and provides a reliable age of the YLL and Lake Mývatn.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.v54i2.15970


Keywords


Iceland; Lake Mývatn; basaltic lava flow; charcoal; tephrochronology

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