210Pb dating




Roughly fifty years ago, a small group of scientists from Belgium and the United States, trying to better constrain ice sheet accumulation rates, attempted to apply what was then know about environmental lead as a potential geochronometer. Thus Goldberg (1963) developed the first principles of the 210Pb dating method, which was soon followed by a paper by Crozaz et al. (1964), who examined accumulation history of Antarctic snow using 210Pb. Shortly thereafter, Koide et al. (1972, 1973) adapted this technique to unravel sediment deposition and accumulation records in deep-sea environments. Serendipitously, they chose to work in a deep basin off California, where an independent and robust age model had already been developed. Krishanswami et al. (1971) extended the use of this technique to lacustrine deposits to reconstruct depositional histories of lake sediment, and maybe more importantly, contaminant inputs and burial. Thus, the powerful tool for dating recent (up to about one century old) sediment deposits was established and soon widely adopted. Today almost all oceanographic or limnologic studies that address recent depositional reconstructions employ 210Pb as one of several possible geochronometers (Andrews et al., 2009; Gale, 2009; Baskaran, 2011; Persson and Helms, 2011). This paper presents a short overview of the principles of 210Pb dating and provides a few examples that illustrate the utility of this tracer in contrasting depositional systems. Potential caveats and uncertainties (Appleby et al., 1986; Binford, 1990; Binford et al., 1993; Smith, 2001; Hancock et al., 2002) inherent to the use and interpretation of 210Pb-derived age-models are also introduced. Recommendations as to best practices for most reliable uses and reporting are presented in the summary.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title 210Pb dating
DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-6326-5_236-1
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 11 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N