• Groningen, a Few Months After...

      van der Plicht, Hans (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
    • Foreword

      Mook, Wim; van der Plicht, Hans (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
    • Conference Participants

      Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01
    • Dedication: To Wim Mook

      Long, Austin (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
    • Associate Editors

      Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01
    • 1998 Price List

      Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01
    • Using the Bayesian Method to Study the Precision of Dating by Wiggle-Matching

      Goslar, Tomasz; Mądry, Wiesław (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      The "wiggle-matching" technique has been widely used for the absolute dating of a series of radiocarbon-dated samples connected in one floating chronology. This is done by calculations of SS statistics (the mean-square distance of 14C ages of samples from the calibration curve) calculated for any assumed calendar age of the floating chronology. In the standard procedure the confidence intervals of true calendar age are derived from the width of the SS minimum, using the critical values of the chi-square distribution. This, however, seems oversimplified. Another approach is an extension of the Bayesian algorithm for calibration of single 14C dates. Here, we describe in detail the Bayesian procedure and discuss its advantages compared to the SS minimization method. Our calculations show that for given errors of 14C measurements, precision of dating the series is related to the shape of the SS curve around its minimum, rather than to the absolute value of SSmin. In some cases, dating precision may be improved more efficiently by extending the time span covered by the series rather than by improving the precision of the 14C measurements. The application of the Bayesian method enabled us to delimit the age of the floating varve chronology from the sediments of Lake Gościąż with distinctly better accuracy than was previously reported using the SS curve alone.
    • Two Decades of Environmental Isotope Records in Croatia: Reconstruction of the Past and Prediction of Future Levels

      Krajcar-Bronić, Ines; Horvatinčić, Nada; Obelić, Bogomil (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      A two-decade-long record of environmental isotopes (2H, 3H, 14C, 18O) in Croatia is presented and the data are statistically analyzed. The atmospheric 14C activity for the period before the actual measurements started is reconstructed by measuring tree rings from the clean-air sites, and the past tritium activity in precipitation is estimated by the correlation of our data with the Vienna station record. The long-term 3H record helped to determine a locally contaminated sampling site, and new clean sites are put into operation. The 14C data were fitted by an analytical function and the prediction of future levels is given assuming that the rate of the 14C releases remains constant. From the long-term stable isotope data record, the local meteoric water line and the temperature gradient of delta-18O in precipitation are determined.
    • The Tunguska Event as Recorded in a Tree Trunk

      Yonenobu, Hitoshi; Takenaka, Chisato (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      A living spruce tree was collected near the explosion center of the Tunguska event that occurred in 1908. We measured annual ring width and studied anatomical features to reconstruct the possible vegetational changes caused by the biological aftereffects of the Tunguska explosion. Delta-14C of annual rings from 1908 to 1910 was measured with a Tandetron accelerator mass spectrometer. The annual ring width decreased rapidly in 1908-1912, drastically increased in 1913, and decreased gradually thereafter. Traumatic resin ducts were observed in the transition zone between earlyand latewood of the annual ring formed in 1908. We thus reconstruct these vegetational changes in the Tunguska forest: the Tunguska explosion damaged forest trees severely for ca. 3 yr, releasing rich nutrients from burned plants into the soil, and subsequently the vegetation was stimulated to recover by decreased socio-biological competition and better lighting conditions. Delta-14C values range from -28.2 to -1.5 per mil for Tunguska spruce, and from -29.7 to 12.6 per mil for Hinoki cypress. These fluctuations are within the ranges presented in Stuiver and Becker (1993), suggesting no evidence of anomalies of cometary origin in carbon isotopic composition. We found no significant difference between Delta-14C of Tunguska spruce and of Hinoki cypress.
    • The Pursuit of Isotopic and Molecular Fire Tracers in the Polar Atmosphere and Cryosphere

      Currie, L. A.; Dibb, J. E.; Klouda, G. A.; Benner, B. A.; Conny, J. M.; Biegalski, Steven R.; Klinedinst, Donna B.; Cahoon, Donald R.; Hsu, N. C. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      We present an overview of recent multidisciplinary, multi-institutional efforts to identify and date major sources of combustion aerosol in the current and paleoatmospheres. The work was stimulated, in part, by an atmospheric particle "sample of opportunity" collected at Summit, Greenland in August 1994, that bore the 14C imprint of biomass burning. During the summer field seasons of 1995 and 1996, we collected air filter, surface snow and snowpit samples to investigate chemical and isotopic evidence of combustion particles that had been transported from distant fires. Among the chemical tracers employed for source identification are organic acids, potassium and ammonium ions, and elemental and organic components of carbonaceous particles. Ion chromatography, performed by members of the Climate Change Research Center (University of New Hampshire), has been especially valuable in indicating periods at Summit that were likely to have been affected by the long range transport of biomass burning aerosol. Univariate and multivariate patterns of the ion concentrations in the snow and ice pinpointed surface and snowpit samples for the direct analysis of particulate (soot) carbon and carbon isotopes. The research at NIST is focusing on graphitic and polycyclic aromatic carbon, which serve as almost certain indicators of fire, and measurements of carbon isotopes, especially 14C, to distinguish fossil and biomass combustion sources. Complementing the chemical and isotopic record, are direct "visual" (satellite imagery) records and less direct backtrajectory records, to indicate geographic source regions and transport paths. In this paper we illustrate the unique way in which the synthesis of the chemical, isotopic, satellite and trajectory data enhances our ability to develop the recent history of the formation and transport of soot deposited in the polar snow and ice.
    • The Sharp Rise of Delta-14C ca. 800 cal BC: Possible Causes, Related Climatic Teleconnections and the Impact on Human Environments

      Van Geel, Bas; van der Plicht, Johannes; Kilian, M. R.; Klaver, E. R.; Kouwenberg, J. M.; Renssen, H.; Reynaud-Farrera, I.; Waterbolk, H. T. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      In this study we report on accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) wiggle-match dating of selected macrofossils from organic deposits ca. 800 cal BC (ca. 2650 BP). Based on paleological, archaeological and geological evidence, we found that the sharp rise of atmospheric 14C between 850 and 760 cal BC corresponds to the following related phenomena: 1. In European raised bog deposits, the changing spectrum of peat forming mosses and a sharp decline in decomposition of the peat indicate a sudden change from relatively dry and warm to cool, moist climatic conditions. 2. As a consequence of climate change, there was a fast and considerable rise of the groundwater table so that peat growth started in areas that were already marginal from a hydrological point of view. 3. The rise of the groundwater table in low-lying areas of the Netherlands resulted in the abandonment of settlement sites. 4. The contemporaneous earliest human colonization of newly emerged salt marshes in the northern Netherlands (after loss of cultivated land) may have been related to thermal contraction of ocean water, causing a temporary stagnation in the relative sea-level rise. Furthermore, there is evidence for synchronous climatic change in Europe and on other continents (climatic teleconnections on both hemispheres) ca. 2650 BP. We discuss reduced solar activity and the related increase of cosmic rays as a cause for the observed climatological phenomena and the contemporaneous rise in the 14C-content of the atmosphere. Cosmic rays may have been a factor in the formation of clouds and precipitation, and in that way changes in solar wind were amplified and the effects induced abrupt climate change.
    • The New Nagoya Radiocarbon Laboratory

      Muraki, Yasushi; Kocharov, Grant E.; Nishiyama, Tooru; Naruse, Yukiko; Murata, Takuya; Masuda, Kimiaki; Arslanov, Kh A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      A liquid scintillation counting apparatus that enables highly accurate measurements of 14C has been constructed at the Solar-Terrestrial Environment Laboratory, Nagoya University. The main aim of the project is high precision year-by-year measurements of the 14C content in tree rings of an old cedar tree from Yaku Island, Japan. We present the results of 14C measurements on tree rings from the Agematsu region for recent decades to confirm the validity of the system.
    • The Influence of Pretreatment on Humic Acid Yield and 14C Age of Carex Peat

      Cook, G. T.; Dugmore, A. J.; Shore, J. S. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      The object of the study was to assess the effects of a range of pretreatment/extraction schemes on the yields of humic acid and humin obtained from peat and the subsequent radiocarbon ages. We analyzed peat from Flokadalur in northern Iceland, collecting material from a profile containing seven visible tephra horizons in the upper 3 m, whose form and extent indicated little disturbance to the section over the last 4000 yr. The results of a range of pretreatments demonstrated that time rather than the strength of alkali is the more important factor governing the extraction of humic acid. An increase in alkali molarity did not correspond to any systematic increase in yield, whereas an increase in time did, implying that the extraction is kinetically controlled. We found no evidence of variability in 14C age due to pretreatment scheme or between different geochemical fractions of the peat. Further implications from this study are that bog stability and ecological simplicity produce a favorable environment for 14C dating.
    • The Erlangen AMS Facility and Its Applications in 14C Sediment and Bone Dating

      Kretschmer, W.; Anton, G.; Benz, M.; Blasche, S.; Erler, G.; Finckh, E.; Fischer, L.; Kerscher, H.; Kotva, A.; Klein, M.; et al. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      We report here on the radiocarbon dating of sediment samples from Bavaria using the Erlangen accelerator mass spectrometry facility. The absolute time calibration of different sediment profiles, together with pollen analyses, should establish a better chronology of climate and vegetation during Holocene in Bavaria. For an enhanced reliability of sediment dating, we measured different fractions such as bulk sediments, pollen grains, macrofossils and humic acids. For these fraction, we describe the separation methods and conversion to sputter targets. Furthermore, we discuss the sample preparation for the dating of bones and present some results.
    • The Carbonate 14C Background and Its Components at the Leibniz AMS Facility

      Schleicher, Markus; Grootes, Pieter M.; Nadeau, Marie-Josée; Schoon, Axel (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      After routine accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating had been established at the Leibniz-Labor with the completion of systems for CO2 production, graphitization, and target making, a systematic investigation was conducted to find the sources of 14C concentrations observed in background materials. We quantified the contributions of the AMS-system, the reduction, CO2 production from carbonate, carbonate contamination, and combustion. Carbonate contamination appears to be the dominating factor. Improvements in the pretreatment of foraminifer carbonate have led to the elimination of most of this contamination.
    • The Behavior of Sellafield-Derived 14C in the Northeast Irish Sea

      Wolstenholme, Anne; Cook, G. T.; MacKenzie, A. B.; Naysmith, Philip; Meadows, P. S.; McDonald, Paul (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Radiocarbon is an important constituent of the low level, liquid, radioactive effluent discharged from the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in northwest England, but despite the fact that it gives the highest collective dose commitment of all the nuclides in the waste, its behavior in the Irish Sea is poorly defined. There is therefore a clear requirement for an improved understanding of 14C behavior in the Irish Sea, to assist with dose evaluation modeling and definition of the mixing and accumulation characteristics of the sediment in this area. In this context, results are presented here for a temporal study of 14C activities in four geochemical fractions of seawater and in a sediment core from the vicinity of the Sellafield effluent outfall. Clear 14C enrichments in the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and particulate organic carbon (POC) components of seawater were observed, with temporal trends in activity that were related to variations in the Sellafield discharge. Smaller, but nevertheless detectable, enrichments were also observed for particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the seawater. The distribution of 137Cs and 241Am revealed that the sediment core could be classified into three zones in which the intensity of mixing decreased discontinuously with depth. Bulk carbonate 14C analyses of the core demonstrated the presence of glacial or pre-glacial carbonate in the system, but failed to show any evidence of contaminant 14C input or provide information on sediment accumulation processes. In contrast, analysis of bulk organic matter from the sediment provided clear evidence of the recent perturbation of a well mixed system by input of younger material, consistent with the recent input of contaminant 14C from Sellafield and possibly weapons testing fallout.
    • The Effect of a Succession of Ocean Ventilation Changes on 14C

      Stocker, Thomas F.; Wright, Daniel G. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Using the model of Stocker and Wright (1996), we investigate the effect of a succession of ocean ventilation changes on the atmospheric concentration of radiocarbon, Delta-14C(atm), the surface reservoir ages, the top-to-bottom age differences, and the calendar-14C age relationships in different regions of the ocean. The model includes a representation of the cycling of 14C through the atmosphere, the ocean and the land biosphere. Ocean ventilation changes are triggered by increasing rates of freshwater discharge into the North Atlantic, which are determined according to a simple feedback mechanism between the melting rates and the climatic state of the North Atlantic region. The results demonstrate that ventilation changes can cause Delta-14C(atm) fluctuations of 25%, surface reservoir age fluctuations of 100 yr in the Pacific (200 yr in the Atlantic) and top-to-bottom age variations of 500 yr in the Pacific (1000 yr in the Atlantic). We also show that 14C age estimates based on marine organisms that live in the near-surface region of the ocean and take up the signal of surface 14C can result in apparent age reversals if the assumption of a constant reservoir age is made.
    • Systematic Investigations of 14C Measurements at the Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator

      Rom, Werner; Golser, Robin; Kutschera, Walter; Priller, Alfred; Steier, Peter; Wild, Eva (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      A newly operating accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) facility such as VERA has to go through an extensive testing phase in order to establish optimal conditions for 14C measurements, especially in the field of archaeological samples where an overall precision of 0.5% is desirable. We discuss the results of our measurements at the milligram carbon level as they relate to long-term stability, reproducibility, precision and isotope fractionation.
    • Target Preparation for Continuous Flow Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

      Schneider, Robert J.; Hayes, J. M.; Von Reden, K. F.; McNichol, Ann P.; Eglinton, T. I.; Wills, J. S. C. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      For very small samples, it is difficult to prepare graphitic targets that will yield a useful and steady sputtered ion beam. Working with materials separated by preparative capillary gas chromatography, we have succeeded with amounts as small as 20 micrograms C. This seems to be a practical limit, as it involves 1) multiple chromatographic runs with trapping of effluent fractions, 2) recovery and combustion of the fractions, 3) graphitization and 4) compression of the resultant graphite/ cobalt matrix into a good sputter target. Through such slow and intricate work, radiocarbon ages of lignin derivatives and hydrocarbons from coastal sediments have been determined. If this could be accomplished as an "online" measurement by flowing the analytes directly into a microwave gas ion source, with a carrier gas, then the number of processing steps could be minimized. Such a system would be useful not just for chromatographic effluents, but for any gaseous material, such as CO2 produced from carbonates. We describe tests using such an ion source.