A new 14C calibration data set for the last deglaciation based on marine VARVES

Konrad A. Hughen, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Scott J. Lehman, Michaele Kashgarian, John R. Southon, Larry C. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Varved sediments of the tropical Cariaco Basin provide a new 14C calibration data set for the period of deglaciation (10,000 to 14,500 years before present: 10-14.5 cal ka BP). Independent evaluations of the Cariaco Basin calendar and 14C chronologies were based on the agreement of varve ages with the GISP2 ice core layer chronology for similar high-resolution paleoclimate records, in addition to 14C age agreement with terrestrial 14C dates, even during large climatic changes. These assessments indicate that the Cariaco Basin 14C reservoir age remained stable throughout the Younger Dryas and late Allerød climatic events and that the varve and 14C chronologies provide an accurate alternative to existing calibrations based on coral U/Th dates. The Cariaco Basin calibration generally agrees with coral-derived calibrations but is more continuous and resolves century-scale details of 14C change not seen in the coral records. 14C plateaus can be identified at 9.6, 11.4, and 11.7 14C ka BP, in addition to a large, sloping "plateau" during the Younger Dryas (∼10 to 11 14C ka BP). Accounting for features such as these is crucial to determining the relative timing and rates of change during abrupt global climate changes of the last deglaciation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-494
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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