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Modeling the downward transport of 210 Pb in Peatlands: Initial Penetration‐Constant Rate of Supply (IP-CRS) model


The vertical distribution of (210)Pb is commonly used to date peat deposits accumulated over the last 100-150 years. However, several studies have questioned this method because of an apparent post-depositional mobility of (210)Pb within some peat profiles. In this study, we introduce the Initial Penetration–Constant Rate of Supply (IP-CRS) model for calculating ages derived from 210Pb profiles that are altered by an initial migration of the radionuclide. This new, two-phased, model describes the distribution of atmospheric-derived (210)Pb ((210)Pbxs) in peat taking into account both incorporation of (210)Pb into the accumulating peat matrix as well as an initial flushing of (210)Pb through the uppermost peat layers. The validity of the IP-CRS model is tested in four anomalous (210)Pb peat records that showed some deviations from the typical exponential decay profile not explained by variations in peat accumulation rates. Unlike the most commonly used (210)Pb-dating model (Constant Rate of Supply (CRS)), the IP-CRS model estimates peat accumulation rates consistent with typical growth rates for peatlands from the same areas. Confidence in the IP-CRS chronology is also provided by the good agreement with independent chronological markers (i.e. (241)Am and (137)Cs). Our results showed that the IP-CRS can provide chronologies from peat records where (210)Pb mobility is evident, being a valuable tool for studies reconstructing past environmental changes using peat archives during the Anthropocene.

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