230Th/U-dating of fossil corals and speleothems

D Scholz, DL Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)
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Both marine and terrestrial carbonates can be precisely dated by U-series disequilibrium methods in the age range <600 ka (thousands of years). Here we focus on 230Th/U-dating of reef corals and speleothems. The requirements, potential but also the problems of 230Th/U-dating of both archives are presented and discussed. Fossil reef corals are used as indicators for past sea level fluctuations and as high-resolution palaeoclimate archives. These applications require precise and accurate dating, which can be achieved using 230Th/U-dating. However, many fossil corals show evidence for post-depositional open-system behaviour. This limits the accuracy of 230Th/U-ages of fossil corals rather than the analytical precision. We present and discuss the currently available methods to identify altered corals and also review three recently developed open-system dating approaches. Speleothems are very important climate archives because they are found in most continental areas and can be used to investigate and directly compare spatially variable climate conditions. They usually show no evidence for open-system behaviour but may contain significant amounts of initial detrital 230Th. We discuss the currently available correction techniques and methods to derive the most reliable ages. Furthermore, we give an overview of the state of the art techniques for U-series isotopes measurements.
Translated title of the contribution230Th/U-dating of fossil corals and speleothems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-76
Number of pages25
JournalEiszeitalter und Geganwart (Quaternary Science Journal)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008


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