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Radiocarbon Dating of Pollen by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

  • Thomas A. Brown (a1), D. Erle Nelson (a1), Rolf W. Mathewes (a2), John S. Vogel (a1) and John R. Southon (a1)...

Abstract

Radiocarbon dating of bulk sediments has been the standard method for establishing chronologies in the studies of lake sediment cores which have contributed significantly to our knowledge of late Quaternary paleo-environments. These bulk sediment dates are presumed to be direct ageindicators for the speciments (e.g., pollen or macrofossils) which are actually being studied. However, several recent studies have reinforced long-standing apprehensions concerning this presumption. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time the radiocarbon dating of pollen concentrate samples by accelerator mass spectrometry. The dates obtained by this method should provide more reliable radiocarbon chronologies for paleo-environmental studies than have been obtainable by bulk sediment dating.

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