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Investigating Subantarctic 14C Ages of Different Peat Components: Site and Sample Selection for Developing Robust Age Models in Dynamic Landscapes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2019

Zoë A Thomas
Affiliation:
Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia Climate Change Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia ARC Centre of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH), School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Chris S M Turney
Affiliation:
Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia Climate Change Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia ARC Centre of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH), School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Alan Hogg
Affiliation:
Waikato Radiocarbon Laboratory, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
Alan N Williams
Affiliation:
Climate Change Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia ARC Centre of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH), School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia Extent Heritage Pty Ltd, Pyrmont, NSW, Australia
Chris J Fogwill
Affiliation:
Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia Climate Change Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, Keele University, Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK
Corresponding
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Abstract

Precise radiocarbon (14C) dating of sedimentary sequences is important for developing robust chronologies of environmental change, but sampling of suitable components can be challenging in highly dynamic landscapes. Here we investigate radiocarbon determinations of different peat size fractions from six peat sites, representing a range of geomorphological contexts on the South Atlantic subantarctic islands of the Falklands and South Georgia. To investigate the most suitable fraction for dating, 112 measurements were obtained from three components within selected horizons: a fine fraction <0.2 mm, a coarse fraction >0.2 mm, and bulk material. We find site selection is critical, with locations surrounded by high-ground and/or relatively slowly accumulating sites more susceptible to the translocation of older carbon. Importantly, in locations with reduced potential for redeposition of material, our results show that there is no significant or systematic difference between ages derived from bulk material, fine or coarse (plant macrofossil) material, providing confidence in the resulting age model. Crucially, in areas comprising complex terrain with extreme relief, we recommend dating macrofossils or bulk carbon rather than a fine fraction, or employing comprehensive dating of multiple sedimentary fractions to determine the most reliable fraction(s) for developing a robust chronological framework.

Type
Research Article
Information
Radiocarbon , Volume 61 , Issue 4 , August 2019 , pp. 1009 - 1027
Copyright
© 2019 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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