Shell survival and time-averaging in nearshore and shelf environments: estimates from the radiocarbon literature

Karl Flessa, M. Kowalewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

129 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Radiocarbon dates provide a means for estimating the time a shell may persist in active sedimentary environments and the actual temporal extent of time-averaging in marine deposits. Information compiled from the published literature on the radiocarbon age of marine shells gave information on a total of 734 radiocarbon dates from 276 localities from nearshore (<10 m depth) and shelf (>10 m depth) habitats. The median age of 128 nearshore shells is 2465 years; that of 158 shell from the shelf is 8870 years. The maximum age of a shell in an active sedimentary environment is a measure of time-averaging, because it estimates the amount of time represented in the deposit. The median duration of time-averaging in 63 nearshore deposits is 1250 years; the median duration of time-averaging in 129 shelf deposits is 9190 years. Greater shell survival and longer durations of time-averaging in shelf settings may result from lower rates of sedimentation, lower rates of taphonomic destruction, greater rates of bioturbation, the history of post-glacial sea level, sample bias, or some combination of these factors. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-165
Number of pages13
JournalLethaia
Volume27
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

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shell
duration
bioturbation
sea level
history
habitats
Postglacial
sampling
sedimentation
habitat
rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

Shell survival and time-averaging in nearshore and shelf environments : estimates from the radiocarbon literature. / Flessa, Karl; Kowalewski, M.

In: Lethaia, Vol. 27, No. 2, 1994, p. 153-165.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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