Browsing Radiocarbon, Volume 43, Number 2B (2001) by Subjects
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High-Resolution AMS 14C Dating of Post-Bomb Peat Archives of Atmospheric PollutantsPeat deposits in Greenland and Denmark were investigated to show that high-resolution dating of these archives of atmospheric deposition can be provided for the last 50 years by radiocarbon dating using the atmospheric bomb pulse. 14C was determined in macrofossils from sequential one cm slices using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Values were calibrated with a general-purpose curve derived from annually averaged atmospheric 14CO2 values in the northernmost northern hemisphere (NNH, 30 degrees to 90 degrees N). We present a through review of 14C bomb-pulse data from the NNH including our own measurements made in tree rings and seeds from Arizona as well as other previously published data. We show that our general-purpose calibration curve is valid for the whole NNH producing accurate dates within 1-2 years. In consequence, 14C AMS can precisely date individual points in recent peat deposits within the range of the bomb-pulse (from the mid-1950s on). Comparing the 14C AMS results with the customary dating method for recent peat profiles by 210Pb, we show that the use of 137Cs to validate and correct 210Pb dates proves to be more problematic than previously supposed. As a unique example of our technique, we show how this chronometer can be applied to identify temporal changes in Hg concentrations from Danish and Greenland peat cores.