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A stable-isotope tree-ring timescale of the Late Glacial/Holocene boundary


LATE Glacial and Holocene tree-ring chronologies, like deep-sea sediments or polar ice cores, contain information about past environments. Changes in tree-ring growth rates can be related to past climate anomalies and changes in the isotope composition of tree-ring cellulose reflect changes in the composition of the atmosphere and the hydrosphere. We have established a 9,928-year absolutely dated dendrochronological record of Holocene oak (Quercus robur, Quercus petraea)—and a 1,604-year floating Late Glacial and Early Holocene chronology of pine (Pinus sylvestris) from subfossil tree remnants deposited in alluvial terraces of south central European rivers. The pine sequence provides records of dendro-dated 14C, 13C and 2H patterns for the late Younger Dryas and the entire Preboreal (10,100–9,000 yr BP). Through the use of dendrochronology, radiocarbon age calibration and stable isotope analysis, we suggest that the Late Glacial/Holocene transition may be identified and dated by 13C and 2H tree-ring chronologies.

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Becker, B., Kromer, B. & Trimborn, P. A stable-isotope tree-ring timescale of the Late Glacial/Holocene boundary. Nature 353, 647–649 (1991).

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