South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
The radiometric dating of calcrete is often problematical because impurities and open system conditions affect the apparent ages obtained. By applying both radiocarbon and uranium-series dating to calcrete in colluvium, it is shown that such conditions can be identified. In correlation with the stratigraphy, it is found that partial recrystallization severely decreases the radiocarbon ages of the upslope and shallower samples further down, whereas incorporation of limestone fragments from bedrock significantly increases the apparent ages of some of the uranium-series samples. It is concluded that the hillslope calcrete at the study site near Sede Beker in the Negev Desert, Israel, mainly developed shortly after 40 kyr ago, at a time when the Jordan Valley was being inundated to form the fossil Lake Lisan. Since their formation would have required higher rainfall than today, the results provide further evidence that the whole region was experiencing an increase in precipitation.