• Experimental Study on the Origin of Cremated Bone Apatite Carbon

      Hüls, C. M.; Erlenkeuser, H.; Nadeau, M.-J.; Grootes, P. M.; Andersen, N. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      Changes of the Aral Sea level have been observed in 3 sediment boreholes, 2 outcrops, and associated archaeological sites. The obtained results are supported by 25 radiocarbon dates. Major trends of lake-level changes have been reconstructed in some detail for the last 2000 yr, and additional data provide an outline of fluctuations throughout the Holocene. Several distinct changes are shown to precede the modern, human-induced regression of the Aral Sea. These include: 1) the latest maximum in the 16th-20th centuries AD (53 m asl); 2) a Medieval "Kerderi" minimum of the 12th-15th centuries AD (29 m asl); 3) the early Medieval maximum of the 4th-11th centuries AD (52 m asl); and 4) a near BC/AD lowstand, whose level is not well established. Since then, events are only inferred from sparse data. The studied cores contain several sandy layers representing the lowering of the lake level within the Holocene, including the buried shore-bar of ~4500 cal BP (38 m asl), and shallow-water sediments of ~5600 cal BP (44 m asl), 7200 cal BP (28 m asl), and 8000 cal BP (26.5 m asl).
    • Sample Throughput and Data Quality at the Leibniz-Labor AMS Facility

      Nadeau, M.-J.; Grootes, P. M.; Schleicher, Markus; Hasselberg, Peter; Rieck, Anke; Bitterling, Malte (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Since our first report on the performance of the Kiel accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) system and our early work on sample preparation, systems have been built to improve the sample quality and throughput of the laboratory. Minor modifications were also made on the AMS system, mainly in order to reduce the amount of work and time needed to maintain the system in optimal condition. The design and performance of a 20-port reduction system, a pneumatic target press, and a remote alarm unit for the AMS system are discussed, along with an overview of the results obtained during the last year and the procedure used to obtain them. Statistical analysis shows that the contribution of the AMS system to the measuring uncertainty at our current level (0.3% for a modern sample) is negligible.
    • Ultrafiltration: Boon or Bane?

      Hüls, C. M.; Grootes, P. M.; Nadeau, M.-J. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Ultrafiltration of bone collagen, dissolved as gelatin (M ~100,000 D), has received considerable attention as a means to remove small contaminants and thus produce more reliable dates (Brown et al. 1988; Bronk Ramsey et al. 2004; Higham et al. 2006; Mellars 2006). However, comparative dating studies have raised the question whether this cleaning step itself may introduce contamination with carbon from the filters used (Bronk Ramsey et al. 2004; Brock et al. 2007; Hüls et al. 2007). Here, we present results of further ultrafiltration experiments with modern and fossil collagen samples using Vivaspin 20 and Vivaspin 15R ultrafilters. Evidently, the Vivaspin 20 (VS 20) ultrafilter with a polyethersulfone (PES) membrane retains more material in the 30 kD fraction than the Vivaspin 15R (VS 15R) filter with a regenerated cellulose membrane (Hydrosat), which may be related to increased retention of proteins due to suboptimal electrostatic conditions during ultrafiltration with the PES membrane. In addition, this filter type shows clear evidence for contamination with fossil carbon, presumably from membrane fibers, in the 30 kD fraction. Radiocarbon measurements on ultrafiltrated fossil collagen seem to indicate small contributions of modern carbon via glycerin left on and within the filter membranes of both types. Although SEM pictures show film remnants on the fibrous filter structure of cleaned filter membranes, EDX analysis on the VS 20 membrane to not support the assumption this may be glycerin. Our observations indicate the risks and benefits of the use of ultrafiltration in cleaning collagen samples for 14C dating need to be further quantified, especially for the cleaning of fossil bone collagen of good quality samples.