Advances and limitations in establishing a contiguous high-resolution atmospheric radiocarbon record derived from subfossil kauri tree rings for the interval 60–27 cal kyr BP

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Quaternary Geochronology, 2021, pp. 101251
Issue Date:
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MIS3 update_02Nov21_AGH_DL.docxSubmitted version1.64 MB
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Radiocarbon dating is the most widely applied and reliable dating technique for providing chronological control during Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3; ∼60–27 cal kyr BP). Past variations in the atmospheric concentration of radiocarbon mean a calibration curve is required. IntCal20 and SHCal20 calibration curves covering MIS3 are presently largely based on non-atmospheric records which, in combination with larger radiocarbon (14C) dating uncertainties, results in significant smoothing and reduced resolution in calibration curve structure. Floating tree ring radiocarbon chronologies that are wiggle-matched to other palaeo records (particularly to Hulu Cave speleothems) have the potential to provide detailed structure to the MIS3 portion of extant calibration curves. New Zealand subfossil kauri (Agathis australis) trees are long-lived and are useful for constructing temporally-floating MIS3 atmospheric radiocarbon datasets. This paper presents extant and emerging data from several important Northland subfossil kauri locations (Omaha, Basin Road, Waipu, Finlayson Farms, Mangawhai). We show the span of seven floating MIS3 kauri sequences (individual trees and chronologies) from which sequential radiocarbon series covering a total of 7556 years is now in development (representing 23% of the period 60–27 cal kyr BP). We also report radiocarbon dates for an additional 34 ancient kauri from MIS3 that can provide additional coverage. After these floating subfossil wood sequences have been produced, close to 40% of MIS3 (12,420 years) will be covered by contiguous subfossil kauri radiocarbon measurements. Based on our findings, we discuss the prospects and limitations for obtaining a highly resolved and precise atmospheric radiocarbon calibration curve comprehensively covering MIS3 using subfossil kauri.
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