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Optically stimulated luminescence dating of young estuarine sediments; a comparison with super 210 Pb and super 137 Cs dating



Optically stimulated luminescence dating of young estuarine sediments; a comparison with super 210 Pb and super 137 Cs dating



Marine Geology 214(1-3): 251-268



A sediment core taken from a tidal mudflat in Ho Bugt in the northernmost part of the Wadden Sea in Denmark is used to explore the application of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating to young fine-grained estuarine sediments, using (super 210) Pb dating and the (super 137) Cs Sellafield peak from 1980 as independent age control. Despite the anticipated difficulties of weak luminescence signals and incomplete resetting of residual radiation dose prior to deposition, the OSL ages from the sediment core ranged from 7.0+ or -1.5 at the surface to 305+ or -16 years (68 cm depth). OSL- and (super 210) Pb-dates were in good agreement back to approximately 1975, and even as far back as approximately 1945 using the CRS-model. The average OSL age of 9+ or -3 years for the surface mixing zone indicates that the OSL signal of the quartz grains was well zeroed at deposition. The OSL ages give new information on past deposition regimes on the Ho Bugt mudflat: fine-grained sediment started to deposit at approximately 0.5 mm year (super -1) approximately 300 years ago, when a terrestrial reed-swamp was transgressed. About 100 years ago, the sedimentation rate increased to approximately 4 mm year (super -1) . Approximately 40 years ago, the sediment became more fine-grained, perhaps because of emergence of the tidal flat; the accretion rate at that time was already well above the local rate of sea-level rise of approximately 1 mm year (super -1) . The post-1980 accretion rate was found to be approximately 16 mm year (super -1) with OSL dating and approximately 9-12 mm year (super -1) with (super 210) Pb and (super 137) Cs dating. Advantages of the OSL method include applicability over a much larger time-span ( approximately 125 ka compared to approximately 120 years for (super 210) Pb) and a lack of significant dependence on changes in mean grain size or (super 210) Pb supply. With this method, it is also possible to date sediment cores from sand flats, providing a new approach to the problem of evaluation of stability and calculation of sediment budgets for estuaries and coastal lagoons.

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Accession: 032650583

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DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2004.10.034


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