U-Th dating of Lake Lisan (late Pleistocene Dead Sea) aragonite and implications for glacial East Mediterranean climate change

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Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta
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U-series dating can be an effective means to obtain accurate and precise ages on Quaternary carbonates. However, most samples require a correction for U and Th in admixed detritus. This complication is often addressed through generation of U-Th isochrons, requiring analyses of several coeval samples. In addition, presence of water-derived (hydrogenous) Th in the carbonate can cause inaccuracies in isochron ages.This study reports a high-resolution U-series chronology of sediments deposited by Lake Lisan, the last glacial precursor of the Dead Sea. The strategy employed combines multiple measurements from a few stratigraphic heights and fewer analyses from many heights in a single described and measured section. The resulting chronology is based on ages at 22 heights in a similar to40-m-thick section covering the interval of similar to70-14 calendar ka BP. The effects of admixed detritus are evaluated using trace elements. Nearly pure aragonite samples, indicated by very low abundances of insoluble elements such as Nb and Zr, were found to contain hydrogenous Th, which causes the uncorrected U-Th-230 age of a modern sample to be similar to2.5 ka. Nevertheless, accurate ages have been obtained by correcting for the detrital and aqueous interferences. The resulting ages are in stratigraphic order, and their accuracy is evidenced by consistency of Lisan Formation U-series and C-14 ages with the coral-based calendar-radiocarbon age calibration.The U-Th ages provide a context to unravel the limnological history of Lake Lisan. Boundaries between the Lower, Middle, and Upper stratigraphic units correspond to the MIS 4/3 and 3/2 transitions, respectively. During MIS 2 and 4 the lake generally showed a stable two-layer configuration and a positive fresh-water balance, reflected by deposition of laminated aragonite-detritus. Dry intervals during MIS 2 and 4 are indicated by thick gypsum layers and an inferred depositional hiatus, which are temporally associated with Heinrich events HI at similar to17 ka and H6 at similar to65 ka, respectively. During MIS 3 the lake level was unstable with intermittent dry periods indicated by abundant clastic layers and a significant hiatus between similar to43-49 ka. Clastic layers are associated with Dansgaard-Oeschger events during MIS 3, and indicate lake level declines during abrupt Northern Hemisphere warmings. Overall, the climate of the Eastern Mediterranean region shows a strong linkage to the Northern Hemisphere climate, with increasing lake size and stability during cold periods, and fluctuations and dessication during warmings and Heinrich events. Copyright (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd.


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