A high-resolution radiocarbon calibration between 11,700 and 12,400 calendar years BP derived from 230Th ages of corals from Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu

G. S. Burr, J. Warren Beck, F. W. Taylor, Jacques Récy, R. Lawrence Edwards, Guy Cabioch, Thierry Corrège, D. J. Donahue, J. M. O'Malley

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Abstract

This paper presents radiocarbon results from a single Diploastrea heliopora coral from Vanuatu that lived during the Younger Dryas climatic episode, between ca. 11,700 and 12,400 calendar yr BP. The specimen has been independently dated with multiple 230Th measurements to permit calibration of the 14C time scale. Growth bands in the coral were used to identify individual years of growth. 14C measurements were made on each year. These values were averaged to achieve decadal resolution for the 14C calibration. The relative uncertainty of the decadal 14C data AUS below 1% (2σ). The data are in good agreement with the existing dendrochronology and allow for high-resolution calibration for most years. Variations in the fine structure of the 14C time series preserved in this specimen demonstrate sporadic rapid increases in the Δ14C content of the surface ocean and atmosphere. Certain sharp rises in Δ14C are coincident with gaps in coral growth evidenced by several hiatuses. These may be related to rapid climatic changes that occurred during the Younger Diyas. This is the first coral calibration with decadal resolution and the only such data set to extend beyond the dendrochronology-based 14C calibration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1105
Number of pages13
JournalRadiocarbon
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

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