AuthorOlsson, Ingrid U.
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CitationOlsson, I. U. (1986). A study of errors in 14C dates of peat and sediment. Radiocarbon, 28(2A), 429-435.
PublisherAmerican Journal of Science
DescriptionFrom the 12th International Radiocarbon Conference held in Trondheim, June 24-28, 1985.
AbstractIt is a well-established fact that 14C dates from lake sediments are usually too old because of contamination with allochthonous material and/or due to discrete reservoir effects. The latter can occur in soft water lakes and may be examined by the 14C measurement of aqueous plants or the carbon dissolved and suspended in the water column. Some plants assimilate CO2 from the sediment. Their 14C activity is then dependent on the sediment accumulation rate and nutrients stored in the root system may also contribute misleading results. If water is filtered through ultra-fine membranes and then treated chemically, several fractions can be isolated for dating. The present study shows that the 14C activity of such fractions varies widely but with the weighted mean indicating an overall deficiency. Even the water from a raised bog evidences a 14C deficiency relative to contemporary atmospheric CO2. Charcoal from an archaeologic site and peat from corresponding layers in a nearby bog have yielded significantly different ages. The fact that the Cladium peat was from a very calcareous area is significant. The risk of contamination by younger root material is also documented.