Test of AMS 14C dating of pollen concentrates using tephrochronology

Previous attempts to radiocarbon date sediments >10 kyr from the high rainfall region of Westland, New Zealand, a critical location for investigation of interhemispheric patterns of climate change, have been problematic. This study, building on recent work by Vandergoes and Prior (2003), shows that AMS 14C dating of pollen concentrates has potential to provide more reliable ages than other sediment constituents, including plant macrofossils. The method was applied to sediments from three sites containing the 22.6k 14C yr Kawakawa Tephra, which provided an independent test of the 14C ages. Although some minor laboratory contamination was detected in tests on background standards, the modelled relationship between sample mass and measured 14C content permitted an appropriate correction to be determined. Improved pollen concentrations derived by density separation between 1.4 and 1.2 specific gravity and sieving in the range 10-50 m provided either older ages than other fractions of the same sample or, where in situ contamination was not evident, equivalent ages. Differences in degree of in situ contamination between depositional environments indicated that, in Westland, lake sites may be less susceptible to contamination by younger carbon than peat sites, where this process may be facilitated by root penetration into underlying sediments.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Newnham, R.M., Vandergoes, M.J., Garnett, M.H., Lowe, D.J., Prior, C., Almond, P.CJ. (2007). Test of AMS 14C dating of pollen concentrates using tephrochronology. Journal of Quaternary Science 22(1), 37-51.
John Wiley & Sons
Publisher version