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Lacustrine sediment chronology defined by 137Cs, 210Pb and 14C and the hydrological evolution of Lake Ailike during 1901–2013, northern Xinjiang, China

Lan, Bo, Zhang, Dongliang, Yang, Yunpeng
Catena 2018 v.161 pp. 104-112
anthropogenic activities, cesium, humans, hydrology, inventories, isotopes, lakes, lead, models, organic matter, particle size, radionuclides, sediments, semiarid zones, tomography, China
Dating lake sediments in arid and semi-arid zones by using 137Cs and excessive 210Pb (210Pbex) methods is challenging because of the irregular climatic variations and anthropogenic effects. Here we try to establish the reliable geochronology of the lacustrine core drilled from Lake Ailike (northern Xinjiang of China) by using 137Cs and 210Pbex dating methods and improve our understanding of the principal factors that affect the dating results. The results indicate that it is important to normalize the 137Cs activities by particle size and organic matter in order to diminish their enrichment effects on 137Cs activities and thus help us to obtain the accurate 137Cs ages. The performance of the sediment isotope tomography (SIT) model is better than the other 210Pbex-derived models. The erosion process results in the failure of the commonly used constant rate of supply (CRS) model, as well as the low values of the sedimentation rate, the 137Cs inventory and the post-1963 mean annual flux of 210Pbex in Ailike core. Furthermore, based on the SIT model chronology, we further clarify the lake evolution history of the past century and assess the anthropogenic impacts on Lake Ailike. The hydrology of Lake Ailike was mainly controlled by natural climate before 1960CE whereas it was completely controlled by intensive human activities after 1960CE. This study supports that the 210Pbex-based SIT model appears to be an adequate method for deriving ages in the lacustrine systems with strong hydrological variability.