Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 169–178 | Cite as

Evaluation of210Pb dating in lake sediments using stable Pb,Ambrosia pollen, and137Cs

  • Jules M. Blais
  • Jacob Kalff
  • R. Jack Cornett
  • R. Douglas Evans


We used sediment chronology data from fourteen published studies of lake cores across much of North America and Scandinavia in order to make a large scale comparison of the different dating techniques. The uncertainty of210Pb derived dates was determined using common sediment event markers: the stable Pb rise, the137Cs rise, and theAmbrosia pollen rise. For all data combined, the 95% confidence intervals for the stable Pb rise and theAmbrosia rise, were approximately 30 years. These 95% confidence intervals are slightly higher than those derived by First-Order Error analysis performed by others on210Pb derived dates. When comparing the concordance of two210Pb models (CRS and CIC) against markers of known history, we found that the CRS model dates (constant rate of supply) had consistently better agreement than the CIC model dates (constant initial concentration). Major discrepancies between137Cs and210Pb were common, but were consistently more severe in sediments of soft water lakes pointing to an inability of sediments with low mineral content to ‘immobilize’ Cs.

Key words

constant initial concentration constant rate of supply 210Pb dating sediments 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jules M. Blais
    • 1
  • Jacob Kalff
    • 1
  • R. Jack Cornett
    • 2
  • R. Douglas Evans
    • 3
  1. 1.Dept. of BiologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Environmental ResearchChalk River Nuclear LabsChalk RiverCanada
  3. 3.Environmental and Resource Science Prog.Trent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

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