Revised marine reservoir offset (ΔR) values for molluscs and marine mammals from Arctic North America

TitleRevised marine reservoir offset (ΔR) values for molluscs and marine mammals from Arctic North America
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsPieńkowski, AJ, Coulthard, RD, Furze, MFA
Date Published11/2022

Appropriate marine–terrestrial reservoir offset (ΔR) values are essential for accurate calibration of marine radiocarbon dates. However, ΔR values are only valid for the specific calibration curve that their calculation is based on. Here, we present revised ΔR values for the Marine20 calibration curve from Arctic North America, based on previously published 14C dates on pre-bomb live-collected marine molluscs (n = 124) and cetaceans (beluga whales; tooth dentine; n = 12), and bowhead whale–driftwood age comparisons from the same glacio-isostatically uplifted shorelines (n = 18). Molluscan-based ΔR are: Chukchi/Beaufort sea coasts, 265±116 14C years; NW Canadian Arctic Archipelago, 188±91 14C years; NE Baffin Island, 81±18 14C years; SE Baffin Island, 14±58 14C years; Hudson Strait, −73±64 14C years; Ungava Bay, 0±86 14C years; Foxe Basin, 175±89 14C years; Hudson Bay, −21±72 14C years; James Bay, 209±114 14C years; West Greenland, −93±111 14C years. Species-specific marine mammal ΔR terms are 107±59 14C years for beluga and 24±58 14C years for bowheads. Our revised ΔR values are applicable for as long as the same broad oceanographic conditions (circulation, ventilation) have persisted, i.e. through the Holocene. While molluscan values are applicable to other marine carbonate (e.g. foraminifera), cetacean ΔR are valid only for the species they were calculated for and should not be applied to other marine mammals. Importantly, the ΔR terms calculated here are only valid for Marine20 and should not be used with earlier or later calibration curves.