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Age estimations based on amino acid racemization: Reply to comments of J.F. Wehmiller

Authors
Journal
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
0016-7037
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
45
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0016-7037(81)90173-3

Abstract

Abstract Determining geologic ages of fossils by amino acid racemization techniques is often difficult because of the uncertainties in assumptions about diagenetic temperatures. Two kinetic model methods have been employed. Method 1, used by us, assumes that racemization of amino acids in the bivalve mollusk Saxidomus giganteus from Willapa Bay, Washington, follows linear kinetics. Ages are calculated by means of first-order kinetic equations. Method 2, used by Wehmiller, involves an empirical non-linear kinetic model Method 1 is simpler in concept and more easily applied. Wehmiller claims that ambiguities in paleotemperature arise when method 1 is used and that these ambiguities can be reconciled by the use of method 2. We show that application of method 1 can also provide reasonable temperature histories and leads to age estimates that are consistent with the geologic history of the sedimentary deposits at Willapa Bay.

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