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ESR dating pleistocene barnacles from BC and Maine: a new method for tracking sea level change

ESR dating pleistocene barnacles from BC and Maine: a new method for tracking sea level change

Health Physics 98(2): 417-426

Barnacles have never been successfully dated by electron spin resonance (ESR). Living mainly in the intertidal zone, barnacles die when sea level changes cause their permanent exposure. Thus, dating the barnacles dates past sea level changes. From this, we can measure apparent sea level changes that occur due to ocean volume changes, crustal isostasy, and tectonics. ESR can date aragonitic mollusc shells ranging in age from 5 ka to at least 500 ka. By modifying the standard ESR method for molluscs to chemically dissolve 20 microm from off the shells, six barnacle samples from Norridgewock, Maine, and Khyex River, British Columbia, were tested for suitability for ESR dating. Due to Mn2+ interference peaks, the four Maine barnacle samples were not datable by ESR. Two barnacles from BC, which lacked Mn2+ interference, yielded a mean ESR age of 15.1 +/- 1.0 ka. These ages agree well with 14C dates on the barnacles themselves and wood in the overlying glaciomarine sediment. Although stability tests to calculate the mean dating signal lifetime and more ESR calibration tests against other barnacles of known age are needed to ensure the method's accuracy, ESR can indeed date Balanus, and thus, sea level changes.

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Accession: 052751997

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PMID: 20065715

DOI: 10.1097/hp.0b013e3181aadce1

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