Isotopic and chemical considerations in radiocarbon dating of groundwater within the arid Tucson Basin, Arizona.
Committee ChairLong, Austin
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractA chemical-isotopic equilibrium model was developed for adjustment of radiocarbon ages of groundwater from the arid Tucson basin for dilution of the initial groundwater C-14 activity by the solution of soil calcite having a C-14 of 25 ± 19% modern. Input to the model consisted of the laboratory chemical analyses for Ca⁺⁺, Mg⁺⁺, Na⁺, H₄SiO₄, SO₄⁼, HCO₃⁻, CO₃⁼, NO₃⁻, and pH, and δ C-13 for the total dissolved carbon in the groundwater. Output consisted of the equilibrium chemical composition of the groundwater, the ratio of soil CO₂ derived to total dissolved carbon, Q, and δ C-13 of total dissolved carbon, H₂CO₃, HCO₃⁻, and CO₃⁼, and δ C-13 for the soil CO₂ and calcite that initially dissolved in the surface water as it equilibrated with soil minerals. Radiocarbon age of the groundwater is computed from the equation T = 8270 ln [(Q + (1-Q) A(CaCO₃)/Am] where T is the age in years before A.D. 1950, A(CaCO₃) is the soil calcite activity and Am is the measured activity for the dissolved carbonate in the groundwater, both with respect to modern wood. The validity of the model was tested by comparing the predicted values for δ C-13 (CO₂), δ C-13 (CaCO₃) with measured values for samples from the Tucson basin. δ C-13 (CO 2) calculated = (-12.9 ± 1.9) per mil PDB. δ C-13 (CO2) measured = (-15.1 ± 2.8) per mil PDB. δ C-13 (CaCO3) calculated = (-3.9 ± 1.7) per nil PDB. δ C-13 (CaCO3) measured = (-3.6 ± 1.7) per mil PDB. On the basis of these results, the model adequately describes the natural system and may prove useful in future radiocarbon dating work in desert regions.
Degree NamePh. D.