Journal cover Journal topic
Geochronology Advances in geochronological science
Journal topic
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  26 Oct 2020

26 Oct 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal GChron.

Short communication: Driftwood provides reliable chronological markers in Arctic coastal deposits

Lasse Sander1, Alexander Kirdyanov2,3, Alan Crivellaro4,5, and Ulf Büntgen4,6,7,8 Lasse Sander et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, List/Sylt, Germany
  • 2V.N. Sukachev Institute of Forest SB RAS, Federal Research Centre, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
  • 3Institute of Ecology and Geography, Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk, 660041, Russia
  • 4Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 5"Stefan cel Mare" University of Suceava. Suceava, Romania
  • 6Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 7Global Change Research Institute CAS, 603 00 Brno, Czech Republic
  • 8Faculty of Science, Department of Geography, Masaryk University, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic.

Abstract. Originating from the boreal forest and often transported over large distances, driftwood characterises many Arctic coastlines. Here we present a combined assessment of radiocarbon (14C) and dendrochronological (ring width) age estimates of driftwood samples to constrain the progradation of two Holocene beach-ridge systems near the Lena Delta in the Siberian Arctic (Laptev Sea). Our data show that the 14C ages obtained on syndepositional driftwood from beach deposits yield surprisingly coherent chronologies for the coastal evolution of the field sites. The dendrochronological analysis of wood from modern driftlines revealed the origin and recent delivery of the wood from the Lena River catchments. This finding suggests that the duration transport lies within the uncertainty of state-of-the-art 14C dating and thus substantiates the validity of age indication obtained from driftwood. This observation will help to better understand changes in similar coastal environments, and to improve our knowledge about the response of coastal systems to past climate and sea-level changes.

Lasse Sander et al.

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Lasse Sander et al.

Lasse Sander et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Past climate conditions have had an influence on coastal landscape dynamics in the Siberian Arctic. Coastal deposits can help to reconstruct variability and predict future changes. In this study, we show that the age of old beach shorelines can be reliably obtained by dating driftwood. This is surprising, as the wood travels long distances through large rivers. With this knowledge, the timing of past coastal change can be identified and precisely dated in marine deposits containing driftwood.
Past climate conditions have had an influence on coastal landscape dynamics in the Siberian...