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14C Age Corrections in Antarctic Lake Sediments Inferred from Geochemistry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Rolf Zale*
Department of Geography, University of Umeå, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
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Sediment from Lake Boeckella, Antarctic Peninsula, is richer in Ca, Cd, Cu, P, Sr and Zn than that of six other lakes in the area. The elements originate from Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) guano on the lake shores. Changing Cu and P concentrations in the lake sediment are used as a proxy for penguin influence on the lake sediment from ca. 5850 bp to present. A 14C dating model suggests that the 14C correction factor in the lake sediments depends on the penguin proxy, the apparent age of the penguin guano and the amount of particulate carbon originating from the carbon-bearing shales in the watershed. Glacial meltwater and dissolved carbonates do not contain enough “old” carbon to contribute significantly to the correction factor. Ages corrected with the 14C dating model agree with the depth vs. age curve based on independently 14C-dated tephra horizons. The reservoir effect has been constant since at least 5800 bp, implying long-term stability of the currents and water masses in the area. The existing chronology for Lake Boeckella has been recalculated. The period of glacial advance, previously thought to have culminated at 5000 bp, is now thought to have culminated at 4700 bp; deglaciation of the area is thought to have occurred at 6300 bp instead of 8680 bp.

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