Radiocarbon is the main international journal of record for research articles and date lists relevant to 14C and other radioisotopes and techniques used in archaeological, geophysical, oceanographic, and related dating.

This archive provides access to Radiocarbon Volumes 1-54 (1959-2012).

As of 2016, Radiocarbon is published by Cambridge University Press. The journal is published quarterly. Radiocarbon also publishes conference proceedings and monographs on topics related to fields of interest. Visit Cambridge Online for new Radiocarbon content and to submit manuscripts.

ISSN: 0033-8222


Contact the University Libraries Journal Team with questions.

Recent Submissions

  • 2004 Price List

    Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01
  • Wiggle-Match Dating of Tree-Ring Sequences

    Galimberti, Mariagrazia; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher; Manning, Sturt W. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    Given the non-monotonic form of the radiocarbon calibration curve, the precision of single 14C dates on the calendar timescale will always be limited. One way around this limitation is through comparison of time-series, which should exhibit the same irregular patterning as the calibration curve. This approach can be employed most directly in the case of wood samples with many years growth present (but not able to be dated by dendrochronology), where the tree-ring series of unknown date can be compared against the similarly constructed 14C calibration curve built from known-age wood. This process of curve-fitting has come to be called "wiggle-matching." in this paper, we look at the requirements for getting good precision by this method: sequence length, sampling frequency, and measurement precision. We also look at 3 case studies: one a piece of wood which has been independently dendrochronologically dated, and two others of unknown age relating to archaeological activity at Silchester, UK (Roman) and Miletos, Anatolia (relating to the volcanic eruption at Thera).
  • Variability of Monthly Radiocarbon During the 1760s in Corals from the Galapagos Islands

    Druffel, Ellen R. M.; Griffin, Sheila; Hwang, Jeomshik; Komada, Tomoko; Beaupre, Steven R.; Druffel-Rodriguez, Kevin C.; Santos, Guaciara M.; Southon, John (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    Radiocarbon (∆14C) measurements of monthly samples from a Galapagos surface coral are among the first data sets from the new Keck Carbon Cycle Accelerator Mass Spectrometry laboratory at the University of California, Irvine. An average ∆14C value of -62 is obtained for 144 measurements of samples from monthly coral bands that lived from about AD 1760-1771 (+/6 yr). High ∆14C values were found during January through March, when upwelling was weak or absent at the Galapagos Islands. Low ∆14C values were obtained mid-year during strong upwelling. The average seasonal variability of ∆14C was 15-25 ppm, which is greater than that at other tropical and subtropical locations in the Pacific Ocean because of intense seasonal upwelling at this site. Periods of sustained high ∆14C values were found during 1762-1763 and 1766. A spectral analysis revealed that the spectral density for the ∆14C data displays most of its variance at the 5-yr cycle, which is reflective of El Niño periodicity during the 20th century.
  • Variation of the Radiocarbon Content in Tree Rings During the Spoerer Minimum

    Miyahara, Hiroko; Masuda, Kimiaki; Furuzawa, Hideki; Menjo, Hiroaki; Muraki, Yasushi; Kitagawa, Hiroyuki; Nakamura Toshio (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    This paper presents the variation of radiocarbon content in annual tree rings for the period AD 1413-1553, which includes the Spoerer Minimum period (AD 1415-1534). Since the variation of the production rate of 14C is strongly related to solar activity, the variation of 14C content in annual tree rings gives us information on the characteristics of variation of solar activity. We have studied solar activity during the grand solar minima, focusing especially on the stability of the 11-yr cycle. The minima are determined to have been almost free of sunspots. Our results, however, have revealed quite remarkably the existence of the 11-yr cycle for most of the time during the Spoerer Minimum. The 11-yr variation weakened around AD 1460-1510, suggesting that solar activity might have been strongly suppressed during these 50 yr.
  • Tree-Ring Records of Near-Younger Dryas Time in Central North America—Preliminary Results from the Lincoln Quarry Site, Central Illinois, USA

    Panyushkina, Irina P.; Leavitt, Steven W.; Wiedenhoeft, Alex; Noggle, Sarah; Curry, Brandon; Grimm, Eric (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    The abrupt millennial-scale changes associated with the Younger Dryas (YD) event ("chronozone") near the dawn of the Holocene are at least hemispheric, if not global, in extent. Evidence for the YD cold excursion is abundant in Europe but fairly meager in central North America. We are engaged in an investigation of high-resolution environmental changes in mid-North America over several millennia (about 10,000 to 14,000 BP) during the Late Glacial-Early Holocene transition, including the YD interval. Several sites containing logs or stumps have been identified and we are in the process of initial sampling or re-sampling them for this project. Here, we report on a site in central Illinois containing a deposit of logs initially thought to be of YD age preserved in alluvial sands. The assemblage of wood represents hardwood (angiosperm) trees, and the ring-width characteristics are favorable to developing formal tree-ring chronologies. However, 4 new radiocarbon dates indicate deposition of wood may have taken place over at least 8000 14C yr (6000-14,000 BP). This complicates the effort to develop a single floating chronology of several hundred years at this site, but it may provide wood from a restricted region over a long period of time from which to develop a sequence of floating chronologies, the timing of deposition and preservation of which could be related to paleoclimatic events and conditions.
  • Time-Dependent Factors Inherent in the Age Equation for Determining Residence Times of Groundwater Using 14C: A procedure to Compensate for the Past Variability of 14C in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, with Application to the Wairau Deep Aquifer, Marlborough, New Zealand

    Taylor, Claude B. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    The radiocarbon concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon in groundwater is most logically and completely represented as the product of 5 time-variable factors; these are mutually independent, and all must be considered and evaluated to determine a groundwater residence time. In the case of one factor, the 14C/(12C+13C) ratio of atmospheric CO2, its time variability can be side-stepped by assuming it to be constant at the pre-bomb 1950 value, and assigning an apparent half-life in the radioactive decay term. Apparent half-lives are calculated here for 5 separate periods extending back to 24,000 BP, working from the INTCAL98 atmospheric calibration. This approach can be extended further back in time when the necessary atmospheric calibrations are updated with greater certainty. The procedure is applied to the recently-explored Wairau Deep Aquifer, underlying central areas of the coastal Wairau Plain, Marlborough. The evolution of dissolved inorganic carbon concentration for this river-recharged groundwater is apparent from distinct trends in 13C, and is confirmed by hydrochemical modelling. Extension to 14C concentrations yields minimum/maximum limits for groundwater residence times to 3 wells. In all 3 cases, the maximum is uncertain due to present uncertainty of the apparent half-life applicable before 24,000 BP. Residence times for the 2 wells closest to the recharge area are at least 17,400 yr, while that for a well further down the aquifer is at least 38,500 yr. Recharge, therefore, occurred during the Otiran glaciation, while the present-day near-surface fluvioglacial deposits of the Wairau Plain were accumulating. Drawdown-recovery records over 3 yr indicate a permeable connection to compensating recharge, enabling limited exploitation for vineyard irrigation.
  • The Comparison of 14C Wiggle-Matching Results for the ‘Floating’ Tree-Ring Chronology of the Ulandryk-4 Burial Ground (Altai Mountains, Siberia)

    Kuzmin, Yaroslav V.; Slusarenko, Igor Y.; Hajdas, Irka; Bonani, Georges; Christen, J. Andres (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    Two independent 14C data sets of 10 tree-ring samples from the longest master chronology of the Pazyryk cultural complex were obtained and wiggle-matched to the absolute timescale. The results show very good agreement, within 10-15 calendar yr. The Ulandryk-4 burial ground (mound 1) was dated to about 320-310 cal BC, and this is consistent with wiggle-matching of the Pazyryk burial ground date series.
  • The Cosmic Ray Increases at 35 and 60 Kyr BP

    Florinski, V.; Axford, W. I.; Zank, G. P. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    Concentrations of 10Be in ice cores and marine sediments exhibit 2 peaks with significant enhancements at 35,000 and 60,000 BP. This radioisotope is produced in the upper atmosphere by spallation of cosmic-ray protons and secondary neutrons on atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen. Previously suggested explanations for the increases include geomagnetic field reversals, a decrease in solar activity, and a supernova explosion. We propose an alternative explanation which involves a change in the galactic environment of the solar system. The structure of the heliosphere is investigated for a period when the Sun enters a cold, dense, unmagnetized interstellar cloud. Under these conditions, the heliosphere contracts to 25% its present size, significantly affecting galactic cosmic ray modulation and increasing anomalous cosmic ray fluxes. A tenfold increase in anomalous cosmic ray flux and a twofold increase in galactic cosmic ray intensity at Earth are possible in this high-density case if heliosheath modulation is reduced. We show that this increase in galactic cosmic ray intensity could be responsible for the peaks in 110Be records.
  • Testing the Use of Bomb Radiocarbon to Date the Surface Layers of Blanket Peat

    Garnett, M. H.; Stevenson, A. C. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    The recently formed surface layers of peatlands are archives of past environmental conditions and can have a temporal resolution considerably greater than deeper layers. The low density and conditions of fluctuating water table have hindered attempts to construct chronologies for these peats. We tested the use of the radiocarbon bomb pulse to date recently accumulated peat in a blanket mire. The site was chosen because the peat profiles contained independent chronological markers in the form of charcoal-rich layers produced from known burning events. We compared chronologies derived from accelerator mass spectrometry 14C analysis of plant macrofossils against these chronological markers. The bomb 14C-derived chronologies were in broad agreement with the charcoal dating evidence. However, there were uncertainties in the final interpretation of the 14C results because the pattern of 14C concentration in the peat profiles did not follow closely the known atmospheric 14C record. Furthermore, samples of different macrofossil materials from the same depth contained considerable differences in 14C. Suggested explanations for the observed results include the following: i) minor disturbance at the site, ii) in-situ contamination of the 14C samples by carbonaceous soot, and iii) differential incorporation of plant material during blanket peat growth.
  • The "Sterno-Etrussia" Geomagnetic Excursion around 2700 BP and Changes of Solar Activity, Cosmic Ray Intensity, and Climate

    Dergachev, V. A.; Raspopov, O. M.; van Geel, B.; Zaitseva, G. I. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    The analysis of both paleoand archeomagnetic data and magnetic properties of continental and marine sediments has shown that around 2700 BP, the geomagnetic Sterno-Etrussia excursion took place in 15 regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The study of magnetic properties of sediments of the Barents, Baltic, and White Seas demonstrates that the duration of this excursion was not more than 200-300 yr. Paleoclimatic data provide extensive evidence for a sharp global cooling around 2700 BP. The causes of natural climate variation are discussed. Changes of the galactic cosmic ray intensity may play a key role as the causal mechanism of climate change. Since the cosmic ray intensity (reflected by the cosmogenic isotope level in the earth's atmosphere) is modulated by the solar wind and by the terrestrial magnetic field, this may be an important mechanism for long-term solar climate variability. The Sterno-Etrussia excursion may have amplified the climate shift, which, in the first place, was the effect of a decline of solar activity. During excursions and inversions, the magnetic moment decreases, which leads to an increased intensity of cosmic rays penetrating the upper atmosphere. Global changes in the electromagnetic field of the earth result in sharp changes in the climate-determining factors in the atmosphere, such as temperatures, total pressure field, moisture circulation, intensity of air flows, and thunderstorm activity. In addition, significant changes in the ocean circulation patterns and temperature regimes of oceans will have taken place.
  • Temporal Changes in Radiocarbon Reservoir Age in the Dead Sea-Lake Lisan System

    Stein, Mordechai; Migowski, Claudia; Bookman, Revital; Lazar, Boaz (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    The Holocene Dead Sea and the late Pleistocene Lake Lisan were characterized by varying radiocarbon reservoir ages ranging between 6 and 2 ka in the Dead Sea and between 2 ka and zero in Lake Lisan. These changes reflect the hydrological conditions in the drainage system as well as residence time of 14C in the mixed surface layer of the lake and its lower brine. Long-term isolation of the lower brine led to 14C decay and an increase in the reservoir age. Yet, enhanced runoff input with atmospheric 14C brings the reservoir age down. The highest reservoir age of 6 ka was recorded after the sharp fall of the Dead Sea at approximately 8.1 ka cal BP. The lower reservoir age of zero was recorded between 36 and 32 ka cal BP, when the Lake Lisan mixed layer was frequently replenished by runoff.
  • Stepped-Combustion 14C Dating of Bomb Carbon in Lake Sediment

    McGeehin, J.; Burr, G. S.; Hodgins, G.; Bennett, S. J.; Robbins, J. A.; Morehead, N.; Markewich, H. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    In this study, we applied a stepped-combustion approach to dating post-bomb lake sediment from north-central Mississippi. Samples were combusted at a low temperature (400 degrees C) and then at 900 degrees C. The CO2 was collected separately for both combustions and analyzed. The goal of this work was to develop a methodology to improve the accuracy of 14C dating of sediment by combusting at a lower temperature and reducing the amount of reworked carbon bound to clay minerals in the sample material. The 14C fraction modern results for the low and high temperature fractions of these sediments were compared with well-defined 137Cs determinations made on sediment taken from the same cores. Comparison of "bomb curves" for 14C and 137Cs indicate that low temperature combustion of sediment improved the accuracy of 14C dating of the sediment. However, fraction modern results for the low temperature fractions were depressed compared to atmospheric values for the same time frame, possibly the result of carbon mixing and the low sedimentation rate in the lake system.
  • Spatial and Temporal Impacts of 14C Releases from the Sellafield Nuclear Complex on the Irish Coastline

    Keogh, Sinead M.; McGee, Edward J.; Gallagher, Donal; Mitchell, Peter I. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    The Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant is estimated to be the largest single source of global anthropogenic radiocarbon discharge. This study addresses the impact of these releases on the Irish coastal marine environment. Spatial trends in the 14C content of seaweed (Fucus spp.) were assessed by collecting and analyzing samples from well-distributed locations around the Irish coastline. Temporal trends were studied by comparing 14C concentrations in present-day samples with levels found in archive material collected at the same locations during research campaigns conducted in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. The impact of 14C discharged from Sellafield was found to be most apparent in seaweeds from the northeastern Irish coast. This indicates that the pattern of residual currents and, in particular, the south to north transfer of water known to predominate in the Irish Sea, largely controls the spatial distribution of 14C releases. Maximum 14C discharge levels to the marine environment from Sellafield (between 12 and 13 TBq yr -1) were mirrored by peak concentrations found in seaweed from the mid-1990s and in present-day samples (highest recorded value of 130.4 pMC). Concentrations of 14C in seaweed from the west coast of Ireland correspond closely with values measured for seaweeds from the Atlantic coast of northwest Spain and do not appear to be significantly affected by Sellafield discharges.
  • Sources of Anthropogenic 14C to the North Sea

    Gulliver, P.; Cook, G. T.; MacKenzie, A. B.; Naysmith, P.; Anderson, R. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    The Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant on the northwest coast of England is the largest source of anthropogenic radiocarbon to the UK coastal environment. In a mid-1990s study of 14C distribution around the UK coast, the pattern of dilution with increasing distance from Sellafield appeared to be perturbed by anomalously high 14C activities in marine biota in the coastal environment of northeast England. This present study was undertaken during 1998 and 1999 to determine whether this 14C enhancement was due to Sellafield or the nuclear power plants on the east coast. Seawater, seaweed (Fucus sp.), and mussel (Mytilus edulis) samples that were collected from the vicinity of the Torness and Hartlepool advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) nuclear power stations were all enhanced above the contemporary regional background activity derived from natural production and atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. We used previously published dilution factors and transfer times for 99Tc between Sellafield and various points on the UK coast to determine likely Sellafield-derived 14C contributions to the activities at the nuclear power plant sites. The results suggest that the activities observed at Torness, which are only marginally enhanced above the natural background activity, are possibly due to discharges from Sellafield; however, the significant 14C enhancements at Hartlepool are not Sellafield-derived. Furthermore, since both reactors have the same fundamental design, the low activities at the Torness AGR imply that the activities at Hartlepool are not from the AGR, suggesting that there is an input of 14C to the marine environment in the vicinity of Hartlepool which is probably non-nuclear-power related. However, there is no other authorized site in the area that could account for the observed 14C enrichments; therefore, further research is required to ascertain the source of this 14C.
  • Shape Analysis of Cumulative Probability Density Function of Radiocarbon Dates Set in the Study of Climate Change in the Late Glacial and Holocene.

    Michczyńska, Danuta; Pazdur, Anna (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    We report on a statistical analysis of a large set of radiocarbon dates for reconstruction of paleoclimate. Probability density functions were constructed by summing the probability distributions of individual 14C dates. Our analysis was based on 2 assumptions: 1) the amount of organic matter in sediments depends on paleogeographical conditions; 2) the number of 14C-dated samples is proportional to the amount of organic matter deposited in sediments in the examined time intervals. We quantified how many dates are required to give statistically reliable results. As an example, 785 peat dates from Poland were selected. The dates encompassed the Holocene and Late Glacial period. All dates came from the Gliwice Radiocarbon Laboratory. Results were compared with other paleoenvironmental records. Detailed analysis of the frequency distributions showed that preferential sampling plays an important part in the shape determination. The general rule to take samples from locations where visible changes of sedimentation are apparent (e.g. From the top and the bottom of the peat layer) results in narrow peaks in the probability density function near the limits of the Holocene subdivision.
  • Sellafield-Derived Anthropogenic 14C in the Marine Intertidal Environment of the NE Irish Sea

    Cook, G. T.; MacKenzie, A. B.; Muir, G. K. P.; Mackie, G.; Gulliver, P. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    The intertidal biota from Parton beach, close to the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, were all found to be enriched in radiocarbon relative to ambient background. The degree of enrichment appears to reflect the positions of the biota in the food chain once the dilution in seaweed from atmospheric uptake is taken into account. Close to the low-water mark, the order was mussels > limpets > anemones congruent to winkles > seaweed. The same order was observed close to the high-water mark, except that anemones were absent from this area. The activities in the biogeochemical fractions of the water column reflect the fact that discharges are primarily in the form of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), which is subsequently transferred to the particulate organic carbon (POC) and, to a lesser extent, the dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and finally, the particulate inorganic carbon (PIC). Analysis of intertidal sediment suggests that there is likely to be a gradual increase in the specific activity of 14C in the inorganic component of this material as Sellafield contaminated organisms die and their shells are ground down by natural processes.
  • Seasonal Radiocarbon Variation of Surface Seawater Recorded in a Coral from Kikai Island, Subtropical Northwestern Pacific

    Morimoto, Maki; Kitagawa, Hiroyuki; Shibata, Yasuyuki; Kayanne, Hajime (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    A coral radiocarbon (Delta-14C) investigation with a high time-resolution is crucial for reconstructing secular and seasonal Delta-14C changes in the surface seawater which potentially reflect ocean circulations and dynamic ocean-atmosphere interactions. The Delta-14C values of a modern coral (Porites sp.) from Kikai Island, southern Japan, in the subtropical northwestern Pacific, were determined for the period of 1991-1998 at a monthly resolution. A coral Delta-14C time series for the 8 yr indicated seasonal cycles superimposed on a secular decreasing trend of 3.8 per mil per yr. The seasonal amplitude of the coral Delta-14C was about 18 per mil on the average and the minimum Delta-14C was observed in late spring and summer. The Delta-14C changes were tentatively explained by horizontal oceanic advections around Kikai Island or over the wide range of the equatorial and subequatorial Pacific.
  • Seasonal and Secular Variations of Atmospheric 14CO2 Over the Western Pacific Since 1994

    Kitagawa, H.; Mukai, Hitoshi; Nojiri, Yukihiro; Shibata, Yasuyuki; Kobayashi, Toshiyuki; Nojiri, Tomoko (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    Air sample collections over the western Pacific have continued since 1992 as a part of Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies (CGER-NIES) global environmental monitoring program. The air samples collected on the Japan-Australia transect made it possible to trace the seasonal and secular 14CO2 variations, as well as an increasing trend of greenhouse gases over the western Pacific. A subset of CO2 samples from latitudes of 10-15 degrees N and 23-28 degrees S were chosen for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C analysis using a NIES-TERRA AMS with a 0.3-0.4% precision. These 14CO2 records in maritime air show seasonal variations superimposed on normal exponential decreasing trends with a time constant of about 16 yr. The Delta-14C values in the Northern Hemisphere are lower those in the Southern Hemisphere by 3-4 per mil during 1994-2002. The Northern Hemisphere record shows relatively high seasonality (2.3 +/1.5 per mil) as compared with the Southern Hemisphere (1.3 +/1.2 per mil). The maximum values of seasonal cycles appear in late autumn and early winter in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, respectively. Oscillations of 1-10 yr over the western Pacific are found to correlate possibly with the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events.
  • Radiocarbon/Tree-Ring Calibration, Solar Activity, and Upwelling of Ocean Water

    Knox, F. B.; McFadgen, B. G. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2004-01-01)
    Least-squares fitted smooth curves to radiocarbon versus tree-ring calibration data for the period AD 1140 to 1950 are compared with climatic warming and cooling of the North Atlantic (Little Ice Age), and with recorded sunspot numbers over the period AD 1670 to 1950. Calibration curves from different parts of the globe are not identical, and appear to be determined by a combination of variable solar activity and variable oceanic upwelling of 14C-depleted water, with the variable upwelling itself partly determined by solar activity.

View more