Recent peat accumulation rates in minerotrophic peatlands of the Bay James region, Eastern Canada, inferred by 210Pb and 137Cs radiometric techniques Academic Article uri icon


  • (210)Pb and (137)Cs dating techniques are used to characterise recent peat accumulation rates of two minerotrophic peatlands located in the La Grande Rivière hydrological watershed, in the James Bay region (Canada). Several cores were collected during the summer 2005 in different parts of the two selected peatlands. These minerotrophic patterned peatlands are presently affected by erosion processes, expressed by progressive mechanical destruction of their pools borders. This erosion process is related to a water table rise induced by a regional increase of humidity since the last century. The main objective of the present paper is to (1) evaluate if (210)Pb and (137)Cs dating techniques can be applied to build accurate chronologies in these environments and (2) detect changes in the peat accumulation rates in regard to this amplification of humidity. In both sites, unsupported (210)Pb shows an exponential decreasing according to the depth. Chronologies inferred from (210)Pb allow to reconstruct peat accumulation rates since ca. 1855 AD. The (137)Cs data displayed evident mobility and diffusion, preventing the establishment of any sustained chronology based on these measurements. In the two sites, peat accumulation rates inferred from (210)Pb chronologies fluctuate between 0.005 and 0.038 g cm(-2) yr(-1). As a result, the rise of the water table during the last decade has not yet affected peat accumulation rates.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ali, A. A., Ghaleb, B., Garneau, M., Asnong, H., & Loisel, J.

citation count

  • 52

publication date

  • October 2008