The most widely used dating techniques in quaternary research are the radiocarbon (14C) and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating methods. In some environments, the investigated sediments do not contain enough material for 14C dating. In these cases, 14C dating of bulk sediment may be used as a last resort. The major aim of the present study was to determine the reliability and limitations of the different fractions of the soil organic carbon (SOC) 14C ages in the Nyírség blown-sand study area, in Hungary. Therefore, the low- and high-temperature combustions of SOC (LT-SOC and HT-SOC) 14C age of fossil soils were compared with the charcoal ages from the same fossil soil layer, and their (LT-SOC, HT-SOC, and charcoal) age reliability was verified independently by applying OSL to the quartz fraction of the sediment samples. The 14C data show variable agreement with OSL ages. Charcoal fragments were collected from some of the best material for 14C dating and their ages are in agreement with the LT and HT-SOC 14C ages and OSL data. The 14C age LT-SOC gives a reliable, credible ages, which were confirmed by independent OSL measurements. If buried soils do not contain any other macroscopic remnants for 14C dating, the LT-SOC 14C ages can be used, in the case of the Nyírség study area. The LT-SOC, which is the younger fraction of the soil organic carbon, may be considered to represent the burial time of the fossil soil layer. The HT-SOC 14C ages are sometimes unrealistically older than expected and cannot be considered to be reliable.
- fossil soil
- radiocarbon AMS dating
- soil organic carbon C dating
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)