Analytical and sampling constraints in Pb-210 dating

A. B. MacKenzie, S. M. L. Hardie, J. G. Farmer, L. J. Eades, I. D. Pulford

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Pb-210 dating provides a valuable, widely used means of establishing recent chronologies for sediments and other accumulating natural deposits. The Constant Rate of Supply (CRS) model is the most versatile and widely used method for establishing Pb-210 chronologies but, when using this model, care must be taken to account for limitations imposed by sampling and analytical factors. In particular, incompatibility of finite values for empirical data, which are constrained by detection limit and core length, with terms in the age calculation, which represent integrations to infinity, can generate erroneously old ages for deeper sections of cores. The bias in calculated ages increases with poorer limit of detection and the magnitude of the disparity increases with age. The origin and magnitude of this effect are considered below, firstly for an idealised, theoretical Pb-210 profile and secondly for a freshwater lake sediment core. A brief consideration is presented of the implications of this potential artefact for sampling and analysis. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1298-1304
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011

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