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Marine Reservoir Correction for the Southern Marshall Islands for the Past 2500 Years

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 July 2017

Marshall I Weisler*
Affiliation:
School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072Australia
Quan Hua
Affiliation:
Australia Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Locked Bag 2001, Kirrawee DC, New South Wales 2232, Australia
Jian-xin Zhao
Affiliation:
Radiogenic Isotope Facility, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia
Ai Duc Nguyen
Affiliation:
Radiogenic Isotope Facility, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia
Luke Nothdurft
Affiliation:
School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia
Hiroya Yamano
Affiliation:
National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan
Morana Mihaljević
Affiliation:
Integrated Palaeoenvironmental Research Group, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia
*
*Corresponding author. Email: m.weisler@uq.edu.au.

Abstract

A robust marine radiocarbon (14C) reservoir correction (ΔR) is essential for calibrating 14C dates of marine mollusks and fish bones routinely found in archaeological sites as discarded food remains and bones of terrestrial animals (including humans) with an appreciable marine diet. New ΔR values are reported for the atoll archipelago of the Marshall Islands, eastern Micronesia. Atolls consist of biogenetic material—mostly coral and foraminifera—that can be directly dated for establishing sequences of atoll emergence and islet development. After sectioning and examination using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to screen for sample diagenesis, 6 pristine branch coral samples were selected from the modern oceanside beach, 3 archaeological sites, and islet developmental facies from Ebon Atoll (4º34′N, 168º41′E). Each sample was analyzed by U-series and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C showing no substantial temporal ΔR variations and yielding a weighted mean ΔR of 41±42 yr1 spanning ~500 yr before earliest human colonization (the period when islets first became habitable) through the entire 2000-yr occupation sequence. Reliable published ΔR values for Micronesia and Δ14C data for Palmyra Island, together with our results for Ebon Atoll, indicate that the Pacific North Equatorial Counter Current is almost stable for the past 2500 yr.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2017 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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Footnotes

1

Note that throughout this paper we use yr as a shortened form of 14C yr when discussing ΔR values.

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