Precision of calibrated radiocarbon ages of historic earthquakes in the Dead Sea Basin

Revital Ken-Tor*, Mordechai Stein, Yehouda Enzel, Amotz Agnon, Shmuel Marco, Jorg F.W. Negendank

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

The precise determination of the age of historical and geological events by radiocarbon dating is often hampered by the long intersection ranges of the measured data with the calibration curve. In this study we examine the possibility of narrowing the calibrated range of the 14C ages of earthquake-disturbed sediments (seismites) from the Late Holocene lacustrine section in the Dead Sea Basin. The calibrated ranges of samples collected from seismites were refined by applying stratigraphic constraints and tuning the calibrated ranges to known historical earthquakes. Most of the earthquakes fall well within the 1σ error envelope of the 14C age. This refinement demonstrates that the lag period due to transport and deposition of vegetation debris is very short in this arid environment, probably not more than a few decades. This assessment of seismite 14C ages attests to the validity of 14C ages in Holocene sediments of the arid area of the Dead Sea. Furthermore, it demonstrates our ability to achieve highly precise (correct to within several decades) 14C ages.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1371-1382
Number of pages12
JournalRadiocarbon
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

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