Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.440193
Title: Geochronology of salt-marsh sediments
Author: Marshall, William Alderman
Awarding Body: University of Plymouth
Current Institution: University of Plymouth
Date of Award: 2007
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Abstract:
Salt-marsh sediments can provide important achives of past sea levels if they can be securely dated. This thesis investigates eight methods for dating salt-marsh sediments. These include traditional and established dating methods (¹⁴C dating and the radionuclides ¹³⁷Cs and ²¹ºPb) and more novel approaches to dating the deposition of salt-marsh sediments (palaeomagnetic dating, the use of' atmospheric stable lead deposition, tephra chronologies, pollen markers, SCP analysis and the use of atmospheric ¹⁴C 'bomb spike' and high-precision AMS ¹⁴C measurements). Sites were selected to provide contrasting sediment sequences that differed both in lithology and accumulation rates and included salt marshes from the Taf estuary (southwest Wales), the Arne Peninsula (southern England) and Vioarholmi (western Iceland). The investigations in the Taf estuary produced the first palaeomagnetic chronology from a salt marsh. From the Arne Peninsula this thesis reports the first successful use of bomb-spike calibrated ¹⁴C analyses in a salt marsh as well as high-precision AMS ¹⁴C ages for the 'problem' period AD 1700-1950. Stable Pb analysis at all three sites produced a number of chronological markers that signalled the timing of increases in industrial Pb emissions, and the later use of Pb petrol additives during the 20th century. In addition, a unique isotopic signal, attributed to the working of Pb metal during the height of the Roman Empire in Europe, was found in the Icelandic sediments. The radionuclides ²¹ºPb and ¹³⁷Cs produced precise chronologies for the last 100 yr in the Taf estuary. However, post-depositional mobility of ¹³⁷Cs on the Arne Peninsula and low ²¹ºPb concentrations at Vioarholmi prevents the construction of reliable ²¹ºPb and ¹³⁷Cs chronologies. In contrast, the use of tephra at Vioarholmi, and pollen and spheroidal carbonaceous particle markers on the Arne Peninsula, showed great potential as independent unique-event dating tools that could be used to constrain conventional ¹⁴C calibrations. Finally, the chronological information produced by all the individual methods was combined to construct an integrated chronology for each site. This approach significantly reduced age uncertainties and produced higher resolution, and more robust, salt-marsh sedimentation histories
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.440193  DOI: Not available
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