The University of Arizona
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High-resolution AMS (super 14) C dating of post-bomb peat archives of atmospheric pollutants.

Michael E Goodsite, Werner Rom, Jan Heinemeier, Todd Lange, Suat Ooi, Peter G Appleby, William Shotyk, der O van, Christian Lohse, Torben S Hansen

Abstract


Peat deposits in Greenland and Denmark were investigated to show that high-resolution dating of these archives of atmospheric deposition can be provided for the last 50 years by radiocarbon dating using the atmospheric bomb pulse. (super 14) C was determined in macrofossils from sequential one cm slices using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Values were calibrated with a general-purpose curve derived from annually averaged atmospheric (super 14) CO (sub 2) values in the northernmost northern hemisphere (NNH, 30 degrees -90 degrees N). We present a through review of (super 14) C bomb-pulse data from the NNH including our own measurements made in tree rings and seeds from Arizona as well as other previously published data. We show that our general-purpose calibration curve is valid for the whole NNH producing accurate dates within 1-2 years. In consequence, (super 14) C AMS can precisely date individual points in recent peat deposits within the range of the bomb-pulse (from the mid-1950s on). Comparing the (super 14) C AMS results with the customary dating method for recent peat profiles by (super 210) Pb, we show that the use of (super 137) Cs to validate and correct (super 210) Pb dates proves to be more problematic than previously supposed. As a unique example of our technique, we show how this chronometer can be applied to identify temporal changes in Hg concentrations from Danish and Greenland peat cores.

Keywords


pollutants;heavy metals;Denmark;lead;accelerator mass spectra;Arctic region;Greenland;cores;calibration;concentration;pollution;mass spectra;spectra;atmosphere;tree rings;high resolution methods;Holocene;upper Holocene;metals;organic compounds;Europe;Western Europe;Scandinavia;peat;sediments;Cenozoic;Quaternary;C 14;carbon;dates;isotopes;radioactive isotopes;absolute age

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