An Arctic perspective on dating Mid-Late Pleistocene environmental history

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

Helena Alexanderson, Jan Backman, Thomas M. Cronin, Svend Visby Funder, Ólafur Ingólfsson, Martin Jakobsson, Jon Ytterbø Landvik, Ludwig Löwemark, Jan Mangerud, Christian März, Per Möller, Matt O'Regan, Robert F. Spielhagen

To better understand Pleistocene climatic changes in the Arctic, integrated palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic signals from a variety of marine and terrestrial geological records as well as geochronologic age control are required, not least for correlation to extra-Arctic records. In this paper we discuss, from an Arctic perspective, methods and correlation tools that are commonly used to date Arctic Pleistocene marine and terrestrial events. We review the state of the art of Arctic geochronology, with focus on factors that affect the possibility and quality of dating, and support this overview by examples of application of modern dating methods to Arctic terrestrial and marine sequences. Event stratigraphy and numerical ages are important tools used in the Arctic to correlate fragmented terrestrial records and to establish regional stratigraphic schemes. Age control is commonly provided by radiocarbon, luminescence or cosmogenic exposure ages. Arctic Ocean deep-sea sediment successions
can be correlated over large distances based on geochemical and physical property proxies for sediment composition, patterns in palaeomagnetic records and, increasingly, biostratigraphic data. Many of these proxies reveal cyclical patterns that provide a basis for astronomical tuning. Recent advances in dating technology, calibration and age modelling allow for measuring smaller
quantities of material and to more precisely date previously undatable material (i.e. foraminifera for 14C, and single-grain luminescence). However, for much of the Pleistocene there are still limits to the resolution of most dating methods. Consequently improving the accuracy and precision (analytical and geological uncertainty) of dating methods through technological advances and better understanding of processes are important tasks for the future. Another challenge is to better integrate marine and terrestrial records, which could be aided by targeting continental shelf and lake records, exploring proxies that occur in both settings, and by creating joint research networks that promote collaboration between marine and terrestrial geologists and modellers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume92
Pages (from-to)9-31
Number of pages23
ISSN0277-3791
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ID: 128426509