Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 179-191

First online:

Radiometric dating of lake sediments from Signy Island (maritime Antarctic): evidence of recent climatic change

  • P. G. ApplebyAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Liverpool
  • , V. J. JonesAffiliated withEnvironmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University College London
  • , J. C. Ellis-EvansAffiliated withBritish Antarctic Survey

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Sediment cores from three lakes (Moss, Sombre and Heywood) in the maritime Antarctic (Signy Island, South Orkney Islands) have been successfully dated radiometrically by210Pb and137Cs. The core inventories of both fallout radionuclides are an order of magnitude higher than that which can be supported by the direct atmospheric flux at this latitude. The elevated values may be explained by fallout onto the catchment during the winter being delivered directly to the lakes during the annual thaw. Two of the lakes (Sombre and Heywood) show marked increases in sediment accumulation afterc. 1950. This appears to be associated with a documented rise in temperature in the South Orkney Islands, which has caused extensive deglaciation at Signy Island.

Key words

maritime Antarctic Signy Island lakes sediments Pb-210 Cs-137 radionuclide fluxes climate change