Chronology for climate change: Developing age models for the biogeochemical ocean flux study cores


  • B. Manighetti,

  • I. N. McCave,

  • M. Maslin,

  • N. J. Shackleton


We construct age models for a suite of cores from the northeast Atlantic Ocean by means of accelerator mass spectrometer dating of a key core, BOFS 5K, and correlation with the rest of the suite. The effects of bioturbation and foraminiferal species abundance gradients upon the age record are modeled using a simple equation. The degree of bioturbation is estimated by comparing modeled profiles with dispersal of the Vedde Ash layer in core 5K, and we find a mixing depth of roughly 8 cm for sand-sized material. Using this value, we estimate that age offsets between unbioturbated sediment and some foraminifera species after mixing may be up to 2500 years, with lesser effect on fine carbonate (<10 µm) ages. The bioturbation model illustrates problems associated with the dating of “instantaneous” events such as ash layers and the “Heinrich” peaks of ice-rafted detritus. Correlations between core 5K and the other cores from the BOFS suite are made on the basis of similarities in the downcore profiles of oxygen and carbon isotopes, magnetic susceptibility, water and carbonate content, and via marker horizons in X radiographs and ash beds.