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projects > geochronology in the south florida ecosystem and associated ecosystem programs

Geochronology in the South Florida Ecosystem and Associated Ecosystem Programs

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Project Investigator: Charles W. Holmes

Project Start Date: 1996 End Date: 1999


Summary

The objectives of the project is to measure the distribution of short-lived radionuclides to provide a temporal component to the processes at work within the Ecosystem.

Over the past three decades there has been a dramatic increase in the volume and range of research on recent sediments. Much of this research effort has been aimed at understand short-lived sedimentologic processes and the result of anthropogenic manipulation of natural processes. In south Florida, ecological changes have alarmed all who are concerned with maintaining the south Florida way of life. In order to understand what has influenced the natural processes that have caused these changes, it is necessary to understand the processes at work within the system and to determine the rates at which these changes are occurring. The lack of historical records documenting changes dictates that other methods be used to measure "rates of change." A common method is to use the decay of naturally occurring radioactive nuclides. The usefulness of any radioactive nuclides requires certain conditions be met. These conditions are 1. the chemistry of the nuclide (element) is known; 2. The nuclide onces incorporated into the substrate changes only by decay, and 3. in order to be useful, it is relatively easy to measure. The objectives of the project is to measure the distribution of short-lived radionuclides to provide a temporal component to the processes at work within the Ecosystem.

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