U-series dating of soda straw stalactites from excavated deposits: method development and application to Blanche Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia

Emma St Pierre, Jian-xin Zhao, Yuexing Feng, Elizabeth Reed

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    20 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study aimed to further test the method, reported by St Pierre etal. (2009), to develop robust chronologies of deposits in limestone caves through U/Th (Uranium/Thorium or U-Series) dating of soda straw stalactites. The chronology of fossil bearing deposits at Blanche Cave was further constrained with thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS) U/Th dating of 17 additional soda straw stalactite samples, and results were compared to recalibrated 14 C ages of charcoal. The results support the assertion that soda straw stalactites can provide ages close to the time of sediment deposition and may be used as reliable chronological markers, particularly for periods reaching or beyond the radiocarbon dating limit. The application of an enhanced cleaning technique facilitated the reduction of detrital Th in samples, significantly increasing age accuracy and precision. Additionally U/Th age accuracy and precision was increased through the application of site-specific measured U/Th ratios to correct for the detrital 230 Th component in samples.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)922-930
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
    Volume39
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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