• Calculation of Past Dead Carbon Proportion and Variability by the Comparison of AMS 14C and TIMS U/Th Ages on Two Holocene Stalagmites

      Genty, Dominique; Massault, Marc; Gilmour, Mabs; Baker, Andy; Verheyden, Sophie; Keppens, Eddy (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1999-01-01)
      Twenty-two radiocarbon activity measurements were made by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) on 2 Holocene stalagmites from Belgium (Han-stm lb) and from southwest France (Vil-stm lb). Sixteen thermal ionization mass spectrometric (TIMS) U/Th measurements were performed parallel to AMS analyses. The past dead carbon proportion (dcp) due to limestone dissolution and old soil organic matter (SOM) degradation is calculated with U/Th ages, measured calcite 14C activity and atmospheric 14C activity from the dendrochronological calibration curves. Results show that the dcp is different for the 2 stalagmites: between 10,800 and 4780 yr from present dcp = 17.5% (sigma = 2.4; n = 10) for Han-stm lb and dcp = 9.4% (sigma = 1.6; n = 6) between 3070 and 520 yr for Vil-stmlb. Despite a broad stability of the dcp during the time ranges covered by each sample, a slight dcp increase of about 5.0% is observed in the Han-stmlb sample between 8500 and 5200 yr. This change is synchronous with a calcite delta-13C increase, which could be due to variation in limestone dissolution processes possibly linked with a vegetation change. The dcp and delta-13C of the 2 studied samples are compared with 5 other modern stalagmites from Europe. Results show that several factors intervene, among them: the vegetation type, and the soil saturation leading to variable dissolution process systems (open/closed). The good correlation (R2 = 0.98) between the U/Th ages and the calibrated 14C ages corrected with a constant dcp validates the 14C method. However, the dcp error leads to large 14C age errors (i.e. 250-500 yr for the period studied), which is an obstacle for both a high-resolution chronology and the improvement of the 14C calibration curves, at least for the Holocene.
    • Comparing Carbonate and Organic AMS-14C Ages in Lake Abiyata Sediments (Ethiopia): Hydrochemistry and Paleoenvironmental Implications

      Gibert, Elisabeth; Travi, Yves; Massault, Marc; Chernet, Tesfaye; Barbecot, Florent; Laggoun-Défarge, Fatima (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1999-01-01)
      We studied a 12.6-m-long sequence from Lake Abiyata (Central Ethiopia) to establish a reliable and accurate chronology for use in global paleoclimatic reconstructions. The 26 accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) ages, performed on carbonates and organic matter, define 2 parallel chronologies, representing the complete Holocene period. However, these chronologies show a significant discrepancy from 500 to 900 BP in depth; ages obtained on carbonates were always older than those on organic matter. The hydrogeological and geochemical behavior of the Lake Abiyata basin has shed light on this discrepancy. We found that the carbonate crystallization is due mainly to the mixing of lake waters with ground-waters from the multi-layered aquifer contained in the 600-m-thick basement of the lake. The 14C activity of total dissolved inorganic carbon (TDIC) measured by AMS from bottom and surface lake waters (111.4 and 111.8 pMC, respectively) confirms that the mixing occurs at the water-sediment interface. This evidence of groundwater participation in the carbonate crystallization calls into question the current paleoclimatic reconstructions based on inorganic carbonates in lakes. Specific attention should thus be given to the respective proportions of each end-member in the mixing for the quantitative estimation of the groundwater input. This will help to validate the paleoenvironmental reconstructions and to highlight an eventual diagenetical evolution of inorganic carbonates during burial, via the study of pore waters.