A simulation study to compare 210Pb dating data analyses

by   Marco A Aquino-López, et al.

The increasing interest in understanding anthropogenic impacts on the environment have led to a considerable number of studies focusing on sedimentary records for the last ∼ 100 - 200 years. Dating this period is often complicated by the poor resolution and large errors associated with radiocarbon (14C) ages, which is the most popular dating technique. To improve age-depth model resolution for the recent period, sediment dating with lead-210 (^210Pb) is widely used as it provides absolute and continuous dates for the last ∼ 100 - 150 years. The ^210Pb dating method has traditionally relied on the Constant Rate of Supply (CRS, also known as Constant Flux - CF) model which uses the radioactive decay equation as an age-depth relationship resulting in a restrictive model to approximate dates. In this work, we compare the classical approach to ^210Pb dating (CRS) and its Bayesian alternative (Plum). To do so, we created simulated ^210Pb profiles following three different sedimentation processes, complying with the assumptions imposed by the CRS model, and analysed them using both approaches. Results indicate that the CRS model does not capture the true values even with a high dating resolution for the sediment, nor improves does its accuracy improve as more information is available. On the other hand, the Bayesian alternative (Plum) provides consistently more accurate results even with few samples, and its accuracy and precision constantly improves as more information is available.



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