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AMS Radiocarbon Measurements from the Swedish Varved Clays

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Barbara Wohlfarth
Department of Quaternary Geology, Lund University, Tornavägen 13, SE-22363 Lund, Sweden. Email:
Göran Possnert
Ångström Laboratory, Uppsala University, Box 534, SE-75121 Uppsala, Sweden
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The Swedish varve chronology, or Swedish Time Scale, is an annual chronology based upon the successive correlation of more than 1000 varve-thickness diagrams. The Late Glacial-Early Holocene varved clays were deposited as glaciolacustrine sediments in the Baltic Sea during the recession of the Scandinavian ice sheet. Formation of varved clays continued throughout the Holocene and is still going on in the estuary of River ångermanälven in northern Sweden. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon measurements, which have been performed on terrestrial plant macrofossils extracted from the varved clays, show—in comparison with other annual chronologies—that several hundreds of varve years are missing in the varve chronology. These findings are supported by, among others, pollen stratigraphic investigations on time-equivalent varve year intervals. If an effort were undertaken to evaluate the erroneous parts, the Swedish Time Scale would have the potential of becoming a continuous annual chronology.

Varve Chronologies
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