Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Implications for the Dating of Wisconsinan (Weichselian) Late-Glacial Events of Systematic Radiocarbon Age Differences between Terrestrial Plant Macrofossils from a Site in SW Ireland

  • Chris S.M. Turney (a1), G. Russell Coope (a1), Doug D. Harkness (a2), J. John Lowe (a1) and Michael J.C. Walker (a3)...

AMS radiocarbon dates were obtained from Salix herbacea leaves, Carex seeds, and bulk organic detritus from a lake sediment profile of Wisconsinan (Weichselian) Lateglacial age in SW Ireland. There is a systematic age difference between the dated series from the two types of macrofossils, with ages obtained from Salix herbacea leaves being 900 to 1500 14C years younger than those obtained from Carex seeds. The latter tend to be more in accord with dates from the total organic detritus in the lake sediment, although the bulk organic fraction invariably registered the older ages. Intact survival of the fragile Salix leaves indicates that they are unlikely to have been physically transferred within the sediment matrix and/or otherwise reworked from the surrounding catchment. Hence, these macrofossils are the more likely to be contemporaneous with the time of deposition. However, there is no significant correlation between measured 14C age and depth in the Salix values, which scatter over a range of 700 14C years. In contrast, the age/depth relationship for Carex shows a significant reversal, possibly reflecting the redeposition of these macrofossils, and therefore giving radiocarbon ages that are anomalously old. The data have important implications for the dating of lake sediment sequences by AMS radiocarbon measurement of terrestrial plant macrofossils.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

K. Ahlberg , E. Almgren , H.E. Wright Jr., E. Ito , S. Hobbie , (1996). Oxygen–isotope record of Late-Glacial climatic change in western Ireland. Boreas 25, 257267.

V. Andrieu , C.C. Huang , M. O'Connell , A. Paus , (1993). Lateglacial vegetation and environment in Ireland. First results from four western sites. Quaternary Science Reviews 12, 681706.

A.C. Ashworth , (1972). A Late-glacial insect fauna from Red Moss, Lancashire, England. Entomologica Scandinavica 3, 211224.

S. Björck , B. Kromer , S. Johnsen , O. Bennike , D. Hammarlund , G. Lemdahl , G. Possnert , T.L. Rasmussen , B. Wohlfarth , C.U. Hammer , M. Spurk , (1996). Synchronized terrestrial–atmospheric deglacial records around the North Atlantic. Science 274, 11551160.

S. Björck , P. Möller , (1987). Late Weichselian environmental history in southeastern Sweden during the deglaciation of the Scandinavian ice sheet. Quaternary Research 28, 137.

S. Björck , M.J.C. Walker , L. Cwynar , S.J. Johnsen , K.L. Knudsen , J.J. Lowe , B. Wohlfarth , (1998). An event stratigraphy for the Last Termination in the North Atlantic based on the Greenland Ice Core record: A proposal by the INTIMATE group. Journal of Quaternary Science 13, 283292.

S. Björck , B. Wohlfarth , G. Possnert , (1995). 14C AMS measurements from the Late Weichselian part of the Swedish Time Scale. Quaternary International 27, 1118.

T.W. Boutton , W.W. Wong , D.L. Hachey , L.S. Lee , M.P. Cabrera , P.D. Klein , (1983). Comparison of quartz and pyrex tubes for combustion of organic samples for stable carbon itotope analysis. Analytical Chemistry 55, 18321833.

S.J. Brooks , F.E. Mayle , J.J. Lowe , (1997). Chironomid-based lateglacial climatic reconstruction for southeast Scotland. Journal of Quaternary Science 12, 161167.

S.J. Brooks , J.J. Lowe , F.E. Mayle , (1997). The Late Devensian Lateglacial palaeoenvironmental record from Whitrig Bog, S.E. Scotland. 2. Chironomids. Boreas 26, 297308.

G.R. Coope , (1968). Coleoptera from the “Arctic Bed” at Barnwell Station, Cambridge. Geological Magazine 105, 482486.

L.C. Cwynar , W.A. Watts , (1989). Accelerator mass spectrometer ages for Late-glacial events at Ballybetagh, Ireland. Quaternary Research 31, 377380.

D.J. Donahue , T.W. Linick , A.J.T. Jull , (1990). Isotope ratio and background corrections for accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon measurements. Radiocarbon 32, 135142.

J.J. Lowe , G.R. Coope , D.D. Harkness , C. Sheldrick , M.J.C. Walker , (1995). Direct comparison of UK temperatures and Greenland snow accumulation rates, 15–12,000 calendar years ago. Journal of Quaternary Science 10, 175180.

J.J. Lowe , H.H. Birks , S.J. Brooks , G.R. Coope , D.D. Harkness , F.E. Mayle , C. Sheldrick , C.S.M. Turney , M.J.C. Walker , (1999). The chronology of palaeoenvironmental changes during the last glacial–Holocene Transition: Towards an event stratigraphy for the British Isles. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 156, 397410.

J. Mangerud , S.T. Anderson , B.E. Berglund , J.J. Donner , (1974). Quaternary stratigraphy of Norden, a proposal for terminology and classification. Boreas 3, 109126.

F.E. Mayle , J.J. Lowe , C. Sheldrick , (1997). The Late Devensian Lateglacial palaeoenvironmental record from Whitrig Bog, S.E. Scotland. 1. Lithostratigraphy and palaeobotany. Boreas 26, 279295.

F.E. Mayle , M. Bell , H.H. Birks , S.J. Brooks , G.R. Coope , J.J. Lowe , C. Sheldrick , Li Shijie , C.S.M. Turney , M.J.C. Walker , (1999). The history of climate variations in Britain during the last glacial–Holocene transition and comparison with the GRIP ice-core record. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 156, 411423.

P.J. Slota , A.J.T. Jull , T.W. Linick , L.J. Toolin , (1987). Preparation of small samples for 14C accelerator targets by catalytic reduction of CO. Radiocarbon 29, 303306.

M. Stuiver , H.A. Polach , (1977). Discussion: Reporting of 14C data. Radiocarbon 19, 355363.

C.S.M. Turney , D.J. Beerling , D.D. Harkness , J.J. Lowe , E.M. Scott , (1997). Stable carbon isotope variations in NW Europe during the last glacial-interglacial transition. Journal of Quaternary Science 12, 339344.

M.J.C. Walker , G.R. Coope , J.J. Lowe , (1993). The Devensian (Weichselian) Lateglacial palaeoenvironmental record from Gransmoor, East Yorkshire, England. Quaternary Science Reviews 12, 659680.

B. Wohlfarth , (1996). The chronology of the Last Termination: A review of radiocarbon-dated, high-resolution terrestrial stratigraphies. Quaternary Science Reviews 15, 267284.

B. Wohlfarth , S. Björck , G. Possnert , G. Lemdahl , L. Brunnberg , J. Ising , S. Olsson , N.O. Svensson , (1993). AMS dating Swedish varved clays of the last glacial/interglacial transition and the potential difficulties of calibrating Late Weichselian ‘absolute’ chronologies. Boreas 22, 113128.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Abstract views

Total abstract views: 10 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 22nd May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.