Sequential radiocarbon measurement of bulk peat for high-precision dating of tsunami deposits

Takashi Ishizawa, Kazuhisa Goto, Yusuke Yokoyama, Yosuke Miyairi, Chikako Sawada, Yuichi Nishimura, Daisuke Sugawara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Dates of tsunami deposits have been used to estimate paleotsunami recurrence intervals in areas affected by these natural events. The depositional age of tsunami deposits is commonly constrained by the radiocarbon (14C) dating of sediments above and below the geological event. However, because of calibration curve fluctuations, the depositional age sometimes has a wide error range. In this study, we conducted millimeter-scale high-resolution radiocarbon measurements of tsunami deposits at Urahoro in southern Hokkaido, Japan. The site faces the Pacific Ocean along the Kuril Trench. Eight event deposits were identified within peat at this site. We took sequential measurements for 14C dating using bulk peat samples. The results were validated based on comparison with the absolute and radiometric ages of tephra layers. Dating results were further constrained by stratigraphic order using statistical methods. We constrained the depositional age of the paleotsunami deposits better using this method than we did when using conventional methods. We proposed an efficient measurement strategy with respect to the radiocarbon calibration curve. This method is also applicable for other deposits formed by any natural hazard if bulk peat is obtainable so it can contribute to better hazard assessment worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-210
Number of pages9
JournalQuaternary Geochronology
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug


  • Kuril trench
  • Radiocarbon dating
  • Tsunami deposit


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