• Preparation of Graphite Targets in the Gliwice Radiocarbon Laboratory for AMS 14C Dating

      Czernik, Justyna; Goslar, Tomasz (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2001-01-01)
      A line for preparation of graphite targets for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating has been built in the Gliwice 14C Laboratory. The AMS 14C measurements of our targets are performed in the Leibniz-Labor fur Altersbestimmung, Kiel, Germany. The quality of our line has been tested in two series of AMS 14C measurements of background and Ox-II standard samples and by measurements of the amount of CO2 released during combustion of sample-free quartz tubes. Most background contamination in the first series was introduced during combustion, which has been greatly reduced by baking quartz tubes vacuum-sealed with CuO and Ag. The residual contamination (ca. 1.5 micrograms C) seems to come mostly from the quartz tubes themselves. At present, most of the contamination of the background is introduced during graphitization. The reproducibility of background preparations is satisfactory, especially for samples larger than 1.5 mg, when it is better than +/0.09 pMC. Despite still significant contamination with low-14C carbon during the graphitization process (corresponding to 1.2 +/0.2% of 14C-free carbon), the good reproducibility of the results allows us to use our line in routine 14C dating.
    • Radiocarbon Dating of Wood Using Different Pretreatment Procedures: Application to the Chronology of Rotoehu Ash, New Zealand

      Santos, Guaciara M.; Bird, M. I.; Fifield, L. Keith; Alloway, B. V.; Chappell, J.; Hausladen, P. A.; Arneth, A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2001-01-01)
      We compare radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) ages of wood samples subjected to a conventional acid-base-acid pretreatment with stepped combustion (ABA-SC) with results from the same samples subjected to an acid-base-wet oxidation pretreatment with stepped combustion (ABOX-SC) and cellulose extraction with stepped combustion (CE-SC). The ABOX-SC procedure has been shown previously to lead to lower backgrounds for old charcoal samples. Analyses of relatively uncontaminated " 14C-dead" samples of wood suggest that backgrounds of 0.11 +/0.04 pMC are obtainable for both the ABOX-SC and ABA-SC procedures. Where wood is significantly contaminated the ABOX-SC technique provides significantly better decontamination than either the ABA-SC technique or cellulose extraction alone, although CE-SC can produce comparably low backgrounds to the ABOX-SC procedure. We also report the application of the ABOX-SC, ABA-SC and CE-SC procedures to wood samples associated with the chronologically controversial Rotoehu Ash eruption, New Zealand. New 14C-AMS dates from wood sampled from below the Rotoehu Ash span an age range of 43-50 ka BP consistent with recently presented OSL dates of 42-44 ka obtained for palaeosols beneath the ash.
    • Sample Preparation of Dissolved Organic Carbon in Groundwater for AMS 14C Analysis

      Burr, George S.; Thomas, J. M.; Reines, D.; Jeffrey, D.; Courtney, C.; Jull, A. J. Timothy; Lange, Todd (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2001-01-01)
      This study describes a sample preparation technique used to isolate dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in groundwater for radiocarbon analysis using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The goal of the work is to improve our ability to determine groundwater residence times based on 14C measurements of the DOC fraction in groundwater. Water samples were collected from carbonate and volcanic rock aquifers in southern Nevada. Multiple measurements of total dissolved organic carbon (TDOC) in groundwater from one site are used to demonstrate the reproducibility of the analytical procedure. The reproducibility of the method is about one percent (1sigma) for a 0.5 mg sample. The procedural blank for the same size sample contains about 1 percent modern carbon (pMC).
    • The Chemical and Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Archaeological Wood Cellulose and Monosaccharide Purification by High pH Anion Exchange Chromatography for Compound-Specific Radiocarbon Dating

      Hodgins, Gregory L.; Butters, T. D.; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher; Hedges, Robert E. M. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2001-01-01)
      Preliminary experiments were carried out on archaeological wood to investigate methods of cellulose hydrolysis and carbohydrate monomer purification for the purpose of compound-specific radiocarbon dating. The Chelford log, a known 14C dead source of wood cellulose, was selected for study in order to investigate the levels of contamination introduced during sample purification. Two methods of hydrolysis were examined, mineral acid hydrolysis and enzyme hydrolysis using cellulase from Penicillium funiculosum. Under the conditions described, enzymolysis was far superior to acid hydrolysis in terms of the glucose monomer yield. Glucose monomer purification was accomplished using high pH anion exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection. This high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method does not require sample derivatization and the chromatography products can be collected in water. These characteristics make it potentially well suited to carbon dating applications. 14C dating of chromatographically purified glucose fractions revealed significant levels of contamination had accumulated during both protocols. Glucose contamination from the cellulase enzyme preparation was a major source of contamination within the enzymatically hydrolyzed samples. Ultrafiltration of the enzyme removed some but not all of this contamination. The contamination must be reduced 10-fold before the methodology could be viable for dating. This hydrolysis/HPLC method is also being investigated for 14C dating of other carbohydrate polymers such as chitin.