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Drake Passage deep-sea coral U-Th and 14C data for Southern Ocean corals
GB/NERC/BAS/PDC/01213

Summary

Abstract:
Changes of circulation pattern in the Southern Ocean have been invoked to explain a significant portion of the increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide during the last deglaciation. However, the accurate timing and thus underlying mechanisms of these changes are still controversial, requiring knowledge of different water masses movements with absolute age constraints. Aragonitic scleractinian deep-sea corals, recovered from a broad range of depths in the Drake Passage, provide a unique opportunity to investigate Southern Ocean ventilation with precise U-Th age control. A rapid age-screening technique achieved by coupling a laser system to Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (MC-ICPMS) enables us to get an approximate age distribution of the coral samples in order to select appropriate specimens for more accurate isotope-dilution age and radiocarbon age determination. Thus far more than 1800 deep-sea corals from the Drake Passage have been dated using this and other techniques, and about 400 samples have been dated precisely using isotope-dilution method. The age results show that deep-sea corals can be found across nearly the whole of the last deglaciation across a wide range of depths and locations. With known radiocarbon contents and U-Th ages of the deep-sea corals, the ventilation state of different water masses in the past can be assessed based on their decay-corrected 14C activities. This data submission includes all U-Th and 14C data available for the Drake Passage corals.

Funding was provided by the NERC standard grant NE/N003861/1.

Keywords:
Drake Passage, Southern Ocean, U-Th dating, deep-sea coral, radiocarbon

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