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Radiocarbon Geochemistry of Modern and Ancient Arctic Lake Systems, Baffin Island, Canada

  • Mark B. Abbott (a1) and Thomas W. Stafford (a2)

The accuracy of Arctic lake chronologies has been assessed by measuring the 14C activities of modern carbon sources and applying these isotopic mass balances to dating fossil lake materials. Small (<1 km2) shallow (<25 m) Arctic lakes with watersheds <12 km2have soil and peat stratigraphic sections with14C activities ranging from 98 to 51% Modern. The14C activity of particulate organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon, and dissolved inorganic carbon from lake and stream waters ranges from 121 to 95% Modern. The sediment–water interface of the studied lakes shows consistent14C ages of ∼100014C yr, although the14C activity of living aquatic vegetation is 115% Modern. Radiocarbon measurements of components of the lacustrine carbon pool imply that the ∼100014C yr age of the sediment–water interface results from deposition of14C-depleted organic matter derived from the watershed.

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
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