Chapter 30 - Radiocarbon dating of tsunami and storm deposits

TitleChapter 30 - Radiocarbon dating of tsunami and storm deposits
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKelsey, HM, Witter, RC
EditorEngel, M, Pilarczyk, J, May, SMatthias, Brill, D, Garrett, E
Book TitleGeological Records of Tsunamis and Other Extreme Waves
Pagination663 - 685
ISBN Number978-0-12-815686-5
KeywordsDating coastal storm deposits, Dating tsunami deposits, Modeling approaches for dating tsunami deposits, Radiocarbon dating, Sampling tsunami deposits, Tsunami Deposits, Tsunami sand

Radiocarbon age determinations can be an expedient and accurate means to assign age to deposits of tsunami or storm origin. Essential to the process of incorporating radiocarbon age determinations in tsunami or coastal storm investigations is an awareness on the part of the investigator that a sample will always return an age from a laboratory, but only carefully selected samples inform deposit age. Samples that inform deposit age are of two fundamentally different sample types, in-growth-position samples and detrital samples. For both in-growth-position samples and detrital samples, stratigraphic context is the critical information needed to evaluate how well sample age can constrain deposit age. Well constrained deposit ages require bracketing samples collected to provide both maximum and minimum limiting ages for the deposit(s) of interest. Therefore, sampling should be carried out with the intention of multiple sample submissions for age in order to optimize the potential for acquiring closely limiting ages. If there are multiple age determinations within a stratigraphic sequence that contains tsunami or storm deposits, then the calibrated radiocarbon ages can be, and should be, framed within a Bayesian model structure to better constrain deposit ages. Such models can be further improved by the incorporation of independent stratigraphic age information.