Age-depth modeling using Bayesian statistics requires well-informed prior information about the behavior of sediment accumulation. Here we present average sediment accumulation rates (represented as deposition times, DT, in yr/cm) for lakes in an Arctic setting, and we examine the variability across space (intra- and inter-lake) and time (late Holocene). The dataset includes over 100 radiocarbon dates, primarily on bulk sediment, from 22 sediment cores obtained from 18 lakes spanning the boreal to tundra ecotone gradients in subarctic Canada. There are four to twenty-five radiocarbon dates per core, depending on the length and character of the sediment records. Deposition times were calculated at 100-year intervals from age-depth models constructed using the ‘classical’ age-depth modeling software Clam. Lakes in boreal settings have the most rapid accumulation (mean DT 20 ± 10 years), whereas lakes in tundra settings accumulate at moderate (mean DT 70 ± 10 years) to very slow rates, (>100 yr/cm). Many of the age-depth models demonstrate fluctuations in accumulation that coincide with lake evolution and post-glacial climate change. Ten of our sediment cores yielded sediments as old as c. 9,000 cal BP (BP = years before AD 1950). From between c. 9,000 cal BP and c. 6,000 cal BP, sediment accumulation was relatively rapid (DT of 20 to 60 yr/cm). Accumulation slowed between c. 5,500 and c. 4,000 cal BP as vegetation expanded northward in response to warming. A short period of rapid accumulation occurred near 1,200 cal BP at three lakes. Our research will help inform priors in Bayesian age modeling.
Crann, C. A., Patterson, R. T., Macumber, A. L., Galloway, J. M., Roe, H. M., Blaauw, M., Swindles, G. T., & Falck, H. (2015). Sediment accumulation rates in subarctic lakes: insights into age-depth modeling from 22 dated lake records from the Northwest Territories, Canada. Quaternary Geochronology, 27, 131-144. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quageo.2015.02.001