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New Radiocarbon Dates for the Vedde Ash and the Saksunarvatn Ash from Western Norway

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Hilary H. Birks
Botanical Institute, University of Bergen, Allégaten 41, N-5007, Bergen, Norway
Steinar Gulliksen
Radiological Dating Laboratory, University of Trondheim, Sem Sælandsvei 5, N-7034, Trondheim, Norway
Haflidi Haflidason
Department of Geology, University of Bergen, Allégaten 41, N-5007, Bergen, Norway
Jan Mangerud
Department of Geology, University of Bergen, Allégaten 41, N-5007, Bergen, Norway
Göran Possnert
The Svedberg Laboratory, Uppsala University, Boks 533, S-751 21, Uppsala, Sweden


The Vedde Ash Bed (mid-Younger Dryas) and the Saksunarvatn Ash (early Holocene) are important regional stratigraphic event markers in the North Atlantic, the Norwegian Sea, and the adjacent land area. It is thus essential to date them as precisely as possible. The occurrence of the Saksunarvatn Ash is reported for the first time from western Norway, and both tephras are dated precisely by AMS analyses of terrestrial plant material and lake sediment at Kråkenes. The Vedde Ash has been previously dated at sites in western Norway to about 10,600 yr B.P. It is obvious in the Younger Dryas sediments at Kråkenes, and its identity is confirmed geochemically. The mean of four AMS dates of samples of Salix herbacea leaves adjacent to the tephra is 10,310 ± 50 yr B.P. The Saksunarvatn Ash is not visible in the early Holocene lake sediment at Kråkenes. After removal of organic material and diatoms, the identity of the tephra particles was confirmed geochemically, and their stratigraphic concentration was estimated. From curve matching of a series of seven AMS dates of terrestrial plant macrofossils and whole sediment, the radiocarbon age of the ash is 8930–9060 yr B.P., corresponding to an age of 9930–10,010 cal yr B.P. (7980–8060 cal yr B.C.).

Research Article
University of Washington

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