The 14C reservoir age of the surface ocean was determined for two Holocene periods (4908-4955 and 3008-3066 calendar (cal) B.P.) using U/Th-dated corals from Biscayne National Park, Florida, United States. We found that the average reservoir ages for these two time periods (294 ?? 33 and 291 ?? 27 years, respectively) were lower than the average value between A.D. 1600 and 1900 (390 ?? 60 years) from corals. It appears that the surface ocean was closer to isotopic equilibrium with CO2 in the atmosphere during these two time periods than it was during recent times. Seasonal ??18O measurements from the younger coral are similar to modern values, suggesting that mixing with open ocean waters was indeed occurring during this coral's lifetime. Likely explanations for the lower reservoir age include increased stratification of the surface ocean or increased ??14C values of subsurface waters that mix into the surface. Our results imply that a more correct reservoir age correction for radiocarbon measurements of marine samples in this location from the time periods ???3040 and ???4930 cal years B.P. is ???292 ?? 30 years, less than the canonical value of 404 ?? 20 years. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Low reservoir ages for the surface ocean from mid-Holocene Florida corals