• 210Pb and 137CS dating techniques have been used to establish chronologies guano deposits
  • Guano deposits may experience rapid decomposition resulting in low pH fluids in the guano
  • 210Pb and 137CS are shown to be highly mobile under moist, low Ph conditions
  • 210Pb and 137Cs chronologies should be supported by an independent, concordant 14C date series


Some recent publications on the paleo- and historical environmental interpretation of bat guano sequences have relied on 210Pb and 137Cs distribution to establish age-depth models, even when these are at odds with radiocarbon models in the lower parts of the sequence. Here, we present both field and laboratory evidence for the unpredictable mobility of lead and cesium in decomposing bat guano deposits. We suggest that 210Pb- and 137Cs-based chronologies of bat guano deposits should only be used when independently supported, for example, by a robust radiocarbon age-depth model.



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