Age modelling of late Quaternary marine sequences in the Adriatic: towards improved precision and accuracy using volcanic event stratigraphy

Type Article
Date 2007
Language English
Author(s) Lowe John J.1, Blockley Simon1, Trincardi Fabio2, Asioli Alessandra3, Cattaneo AntonioORCID2, Matthews I. P.1, Pollard M.4, Wulf S.5
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Geography, Centre for Quaternary Research, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX, UK
2 : Istituto di Scienze Marine (C.N.R.), Sezione di Geologia Marina, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
3 : Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse (C.N.R.), Sezione di Padova, Garibaldi 37, 35137 Padova, Italy
4 : Research Laboratory for Archaeology, University of Oxford, Dyson Perrins Building, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
5 : GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Section 3.3, Climate Dynamics and Sediments, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany
Source Continental Shelf Research (0278-4343) (Elsevier), 2007 , Vol. 27 , N. 3-4 , P. 560-582
DOI doi:10.1016/j.csr.2005.12.017
Keyword(s) Radiocarbon-based age models, Tephrochronology, Volcanic event stratigraphy, Lago Monticchio record, Bayesian method, WDS geochemical data, Discriminant function analysis (DFA)
Abstract The first part of this paper presents a review of the problems that constrain the reliability of radiocarbon-based age models with particular focus on those used to underpin marine records. The reasons why radiocarbon data-sets need to be much more comprehensive than has been the norm hitherto, and why age models should be based on calibrated data only, are outlined. The complexity of the probability structure of calibrated radiocarbon data and the advantages of a Bayesian statistical approach for constructing calibrated age models are illustrated. The second part of the paper tests the potential for reducing the uncertainties that constrain radiocarbon-based age models using tephrostratigraphy. Fine (distal) ash layers of Holocene age preserved in Adriatic prodelta sediments are analysed geochemically and compared to tephras preserved in the Lago Grande di Monticchio site in southern Italy. The Monticchio tephras have been dated both by radiocarbon and varve chronology. The importance of basing such comparisons on standardised geochemical and robust statistical procedures is stressed. In this instance, both the Adriatic and Monticchio geochemical measurements are based on wavelength dispersive spectrometry, while discriminant function analysis is employed for statistical comparisons. Using this approach, the ages of some of the Adriatic marine ash layers could be estimated in Monticchio varve years, circumventing some of the uncertainty of radiocarbon-based age models introduced by marine reservoir effects. Fine (distal) ash layers are more widespread and better preserved in Mediterranean marine sequences than realised hitherto and may offer much wider potential for refining the dating and correlation of Mediterranean marine sequences as well as marine-land correlations.
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Lowe John J., Blockley Simon, Trincardi Fabio, Asioli Alessandra, Cattaneo Antonio, Matthews I. P., Pollard M., Wulf S. (2007). Age modelling of late Quaternary marine sequences in the Adriatic: towards improved precision and accuracy using volcanic event stratigraphy. Continental Shelf Research, 27(3-4), 560-582. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :