Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

2015 Edition
| Editors: W. Jack Rink, Jeroen W. Thompson

Amino Acid Racemization, Coastal Sediments

  • John F. WehmillerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6304-3_59


Amino acid racemization: The phenomenon of conversion of “left-handed” (L or “levo”) amino acids to their “right-handed” (D or “dextro”) form. In most living systems, 100 % of the amino acids are of the L form, and the conversion results in an equal mixture of D and L when the racemization reaction is complete.

Coastal sediments: Sedimentary material that accumulates and is preserved in coastal environments such as estuaries, beaches, shallow continental shelves, back-barrier bays and lagoons, and dunes. These sediments can be dominated by biological material (shells) and those dominated by inorganic material that may form by cementation or evaporation, such as carbonates or evaporates and mud or clay. Sediments range in age (time since deposition) from days to millions of years.


Amino acid racemization (AAR) dating has been applied to a large variety of coastal sediments representing a range of geological ages and depositional environments (Figure 1). In most...
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA