Hillenbrand, C-D et al. (2010): Sedimentary record of the western Amundsen Sea Embayment after the last glacial maximum. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.715974, Supplement to:Hillenbrand, Claus-Dieter; Smith, James A; Kuhn, Gerhard; Esper, Oliver; Gersonde, Rainer; Larter, Robert D; Maher, Barbara A; Moreton, Steven Grahame; Shimmield, Tracy M; Korte, Monika (2010): Age assignment of a diatomaceous ooze deposited in the western Amundsen Sea Embayment after the last glacial maximum. Journal of Quaternary Science, 25(3), 280-295, doi:10.1002/jqs.1308
Reliable dating of glaciomarine sediments deposited on the Antarctic shelf since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is very challenging because of the general absence of calcareous (micro-) fossils and the recycling of fossil organic matter. As a consequence, radiocarbon (14C) ages of the acid-insoluble organic fraction (AIO) of the sediments bear uncertainties that are very difficult to quantify. In this paper we present the results of three different chronostratigraphic methods to date a sedimentary unit consisting of diatomaceous ooze and diatomaceous mud that was deposited following the last deglaciation at five core sites on the inner shelf in the western Amundsen Sea (West Antarctica). In three cores conventional 14C dating of the AIO in bulk sediment samples yielded age reversals down-core, but at all sites the AIO 14C ages obtained from diatomaceous ooze within the diatom-rich unit yielded similar uncorrected 14C ages ranging from 13,517±56 to 11,543±47 years before present (yr BP). Correction of these ages by subtracting the core-top ages, which are assumed to reflect present-day deposition (as indicated by 21044 Pb dating of the sediment surface at one core site), yielded ages between ca. 10,500 and 8,400 calibrated years before present (cal yr BP). Correction of the AIO ages of the diatomaceous ooze by only subtracting the marine reservoir effect (MRE) of 1,300 years indicated deposition of the diatom-rich sediments between 14,100 and 11,900 cal yr BP. Most of these ages are consistent with age constraints between 13.0 and 8.0 ka BP for the diatom-rich unit, which we obtained by correlating the relative palaeomagnetic intensity (RPI) records of three of the sediment cores with global and regional reference curves for palaeomagnetic intensity. As a third dating technique we applied conventional 53 radiocarbon dating of the AIO included in acid-cleaned diatom hard parts that were extracted from the diatomaceous ooze. This method yielded uncorrected 14C ages of only 5,111±38 and 5,106±38 yr BP, respectively. We reject these young ages, because they are likely to be overprinted by the adsorption of modern atmospheric carbon dioxide onto the surfaces of the extracted diatom hard parts prior to sample graphitisation and combustion for 14C dating. The deposition of the diatom-rich unit in the western Amundsen Sea suggests deglaciation of the inner shelf before ca. 13 ka BP. The deposition of diatomaceous oozes on other parts of the Antarctic shelf around the same time, however, seems to be coincidental rather than directly related.