Preboreal oscillations inferred from Arctica islandica sclerochronology

Helama S., Nielsen J. K. , Nielsen J. K. , Hanken N., Evison K.

GEOBIOS, vol.47, no.5, pp.305-313, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 47 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.geobios.2014.07.003
  • Journal Name: GEOBIOS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.305-313
  • Süleyman Demirel University Affiliated: Yes


An increasingly important source of annually resolved palaeoenvironmental proxy data originates from cross-dated incremental chronologies summarizing the shell growth of several individuals. Here, we have analysed annual increment variations in a collection of radiocarbon-dated shells of ocean quahog (Arctica islandica) from early Holocene prodelta deposits in north Norway. Radiocarbon dating of the shell material showed that the increments were formed contemporaneously during Preboreal times. The biologically youngest shell contains 35 annual increments, whereas the oldest shell shows 169 increments. Time-series of annual increments demonstrated clear age trends with the widest increments during the very early years of bivalve life, followed by a notable decline in increment widths as the bivalves aged. Subsequent to removing these biological trends from the series, a sclerochronological cross-dating was carried out and resolved the temporal alignments of the shell growth increment records relative to each other. The resulting shell growth increment chronology evidences vigorous growth variations. Spectral analysis of the chronology revealed 3.7- and 4.3-year periodicities, indicative of Preboreal environmental oscillations. Periodicities of longer period were not detected. Our results prove the value of radiocarbon-dated shell assemblages to build "floating" geochronologies for periods and regions where dead shells from museum collections or seabed are not obtainable. Increasing constructions of such chronologies enhance the potential of sclerochronological cross-dating of annual shell growth increment chronologies to depict and detail annually-resolved climate variability not only for late Holocene, as previously illustrated, but also for early Holocene times, when large-scale oscillations punctuated the global climate dynamics. Development of longer chronologies with higher sample replication remains an attainable interdisciplinary target. (C) 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.