Paleotempestological chronology developed from gas ion source AMS analysis of carbonates determined through real-time Bayesian statistical approach

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Davin J Wallace1, Brad E Rosenheim2, Mark L Roberts3, Joshua R Burton3, Jeffrey P Donnelly3 and Jonathan D Woodruff4, (1)University of Southern Mississippi, Stennis Space Center, MS, United States, (2)University of South Florida St. Petersburg, St Petersburg, FL, United States, (3)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, United States, (4)University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, United States
Is a small quantity of high-precision ages more robust than a higher quantity of lower-precision ages for sediment core chronologies? AMS Radiocarbon ages have been available to researchers for several decades now, and precision of the technique has continued to improve. Analysis and time cost is high, though, and projects are often limited in terms of the number of dates that can be used to develop a chronology. The Gas Ion Source at the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility (NOSAMS), while providing lower-precision (uncertainty of order 100 14C y for a sample), is significantly less expensive and far less time consuming than conventional age dating and offers the unique opportunity for large amounts of ages. Here we couple two approaches, one analytical and one statistical, to investigate the utility of an age model comprised of these lower-precision ages for paleotempestology. We use a gas ion source interfaced to a gas-bench type device to generate radiocarbon dates approximately every 5 minutes while determining the order of sample analysis using the published Bayesian accumulation histories for deposits (Bacon). During two day-long sessions, several dates were obtained from carbonate shells in living position in a sediment core comprised of sapropel gel from Mangrove Lake, Bermuda. Samples were prepared where large shells were available, and the order of analysis was determined by the depth with the highest uncertainty according to Bacon. We present the results of these analyses as well as a prognosis for a future where such age models can be constructed from many dates that are quickly obtained relative to conventional radiocarbon dates. This technique currently is limited to carbonates, but development of a system for organic material dating is underway. We will demonstrate the extent to which sacrificing some analytical precision in favor of more dates improves age models.