Pleistocene lake sediments in the Great Basin typically contain little organic carbon, and thus are difficult to date reliably by conventional radioccarbon methods. Paleoenvironmental data are abundant in these sediments, but are of limited value without adequate age controls. With the advent of accelerator-mass spectrometer (AMS) radiocarbon dating, it is now possible to date these paleolacustrine sediments. AMS dates were obtained on sediment cores from the Bonneville, Franklin, and Lahontan Basins. In the Bonneville Basin, the AMS-based chronology compares well with other chronologies constructed from dated shore-zone features. In the Bonneville and Franklin basins, AMS dates delimit unconformities not apparent by other means. We found that dispersed organic carbon from sediments deposited during relatively freshwater intervals provided apparently reliable AMS radiocarbon dates. Carbonate microfossils from the Lahontan Basin also produced results that appear reasonable, while bulk carbonate yielded erroneous results. ?? 1990.
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Accelerator-mass spectrometer (AMS) radiocarbon dating of Pleistocene lake sediments in the Great Basin