Sediment cores from seven European mountain lakes collected as part of a study of palaeolimnogical records of climate change (the MOLAR project) were dated radiometrically by 210Pb. In spite of the remote locations, only one site recorded more or less uniform sediment accumulation throughout the past 150 years. At three further sites the 210Pb record indicated uniform sedimentation up until ca 1950 but significant increases since then. Stratigraphic dates based on records of fallout 137Cs and 241Am showed that 210Pb supply rates to these core sites had nonetheless remained relatively constant and that the sediments could be dated by the CRS model. At the remaining sites there were indications of episodic changes in both sedimentation rates and 210Pb supply rates. Since the changes were not in proportion, neither of the simple dating models (CRS or CIC) was applicable. Using the 137Cs and 241Am stratigraphic dates as reference points it was however possible to construct a realistic chronology for these cores by applying the CRS model piecewise to each time-bounded section.
sediment records, mountain lakes, 210Pb dating, artificial radionuclides