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Chemical indicators of sediment chronology

Authors:
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, CSIRO

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The determination of recent sedimentation rates has traditionally used radiochemical dating techniques but, because of limited laboratory facilities and the costs of these techniques, alternative methods are desirable. Information on sedimentation rates and sediment history can be obtained from anthropogenic chemical components whose presence in sediments, especially near urban areas, can be used as markers to assess their chronology. More than one marker, with a known date of introduction, should be used. In this study, organosilicons first used in the early 1950s and tributyltin used in marine antifouling paints from 1972 were examined in sediments from Lake Macquarie, NSW, to supplement the known input of heavy metals from the lead-zinc smelter that has been operating at the northern end of the lake since 1897. The most reliable data were obtained at sites where all three markers were present, and use of these data allowed independent determination of the year of initial operation of a sewage treatment works.
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... The most commonly used method of validation is the use of 137 Cs, although in many cases this proves to be inadequate due to downward diffusion or remobilisation of 137 Cs by post-depositional activity within pore waters (Appleby, 2001; Liassaoui et al., 2008; Putyrskaya & Klemt, 2007) (Figs. 8 & 9). Alternative methods for validation include pollen, diatom, sediment geochemistry and historical records of catchment development and major climatic events (Appleby, 2001; Kilby & Batley, 1993; Gale et al., 1995; Haworth et al., 1999). Earlier studies of sedimentation rates in Lake Macquarie varied according to the dating method used. ...
... Earlier studies of sedimentation rates in Lake Macquarie varied according to the dating method used. Roy and Crawford (1984) determined sedimentation rates at approximately 1 mm y -1 using 14 C for dating shells in deep sediments (40-90 cm), which might be expected in pre-anthropogenic sediments (Kilby & Batley, 1993). Kilby & Batley (1993)Kilby & Batley, 1993). ...
... 1995; Haworth et al., 1999). Earlier studies of sedimentation rates in Lake Macquarie varied according to the dating method used. Roy and Crawford (1984) determined sedimentation rates at approximately 1 mm y -1 using 14 C for dating shells in deep sediments (40-90 cm), which might be expected in pre-anthropogenic sediments (Kilby & Batley, 1993). Kilby & Batley (1993)Kilby & Batley, 1993). The smelter, which started operation in 1897, was originally intended to extract Zn from ore produced elsewhere (Broken Hill, central NSW) by the electrolytic process, but this did not prove commercially viable and the works were converted to an ordinary Pb smelting works (Lake Macquarie Council, 1985). In 1922 Pb ...
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