• An Overview of Some Interlaboratory Studies

      Scott, E. Marian; Baxter, M. S.; Aitchison, T. C.; Harkness, D. D.; Cook, G. T. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1990-01-01)
      Many interlaboratory studies have been made in the 14C community at irregular intervals over the past ten years. At times, the results from these studies have been contentious, mostly because of the lack of consistency in their findings. The importance of regular exercises has become particularly acute due to the large number of operating laboratories and the diversity of their methodologies. Hence, we briefly review the studies that have been made in the 1980s, focusing on those in which our laboratories participated. These include the 14C Interlaboratory Comparison in the UK (Otlet et al 1980), the International Comparison (ISG 1982, 1983) and the first two parts of the current International Collaborative Program (Scott et al 1989a, b). The development of each study, its findings and shortcomings, are highlighted in order to assess the concordance of the conclusions.
    • International Collaborative Study: Structuring and Sample Preparation

      Cook, G. T.; Harkness, D. D.; Miller, B. F.; Scott, E. Marian; Baxter, M. S.; Aitchison, T. C. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1990-01-01)
      The success of any intercomparison exercise depends largely on participation and cooperation of a sufficient number of laboratories and the selection of a suitable suite of samples. Unless the latter is satisfactorily devised, the former cannot be guaranteed. The hierarchical nature of this study has necessarily resulted in a far more comprehensive set of sample types than has previously been employed. The exercise was structured to satisfy the following criteria: 1) to enable the participating laboratories to assess the experimental precision and accuracy of the component stages of the dating process; 2) samples should be typical of those routinely dated by the laboratories. This takes on a particular significance in Stage 1 where they should resemble as closely as possible the counting medium; 3) an objective statistical analysis of the results at each component stage of the study.
    • Radiocarbon Dating of Intercomparison Samples at the Zagreb Radiocarbon Laboratory

      Horvatinčić, Nada; Srdoč, Dušan; Obelić, Bogomil; Krajcar Bronić, Ines (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1990-01-01)
      The Radiocarbon and Tritium Laboratory of the Rudjer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, participated in the International Collaborative Study (ICS) in all three stages. All measurements were made by proportional counting of methane. We present here a statistical analysis of our results. A comparison with the mean or median values of reported ICS values showed that our results are generally slightly younger.
    • Radiocarbon Dating Problems Using Acetylene as Counting Gas

      Geyh, Mebus A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1990-01-01)
      An investigation of inconsistent Hannover results in the International Collaborative Study (ICS) led to the conclusion that the main reason was contamination of the acetylene used as counting gas with recent and/or fossil carbon by the lithium used for its preparation. Despite the high level of purity of the lithium guaranteed by the producer and storage under argon in cans, different charges were partly covered with contemporary lithium carbonate and fossil oil sometimes was used to preserve the metal. Thorough cleaning of the surface of the lithium rods decreased the contamination but did not remove it entirely, which is evidenced in the wider scatter of the counting rates of various background gases than that of radiocarbon-free tank acetylene. As a result of the high risk of contamination with fossil and/or recent carbon from the acetylene counting gas, the high price of lithium, and the time-consuming preparation, the Hannover 14C Laboratory will use carbon dioxide instead of acetylene as counting gas in the future.
    • Radiocarbon Dating Reproducibility at the Museo de la Plata Radiocarbon Laboratory

      Figini, Anibal J.; Huarte, Roberto; Carbonari, Jorge (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1990-01-01)
      We discuss here the variability, for our laboratory, in counting for radiocarbon dating of replicate measurements of background and secondary modern standard, duplicate measurements of samples provided by the International Collaborative Study, and replicate measurements of the dilution of the 14C-labeled benzene standard. The variability in the measurements of the International Collaborative Study samples suggest the existence of systematic bias.
    • Routine Checks in the Uppsala Conventional 14C Laboratory to Achieve Reliable Results

      Olsson, Ingrid U. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1990-01-01)
      I describe here a series of routine self-checks that the Uppsala 14C laboratory performs with all measurements. We estimate all uncertainties in the physical measurement of a sample. We study long-term stability, calculate mean values for oxalic acid and background and compare expected and real statistical distributions of uncertainties. To reduce the risk of bias, the samples from each series are almost exclusively run on the same counter. Some samples are, however, run on two or more counters to check the possible bias to achieve reliable activity comparisons with other laboratories. It is always possible to trace which counter is used, since different number series are used for different counters.
    • Systematic Biases in Results of the International Collaborative Study and Their Probable Sources

      Pazdur, Mieczysław F.; Awsiuk, Romuald; Goslar, Tomasz; Pazdur, Anna (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1990-01-01)
      Results of the International Collaborative Study show an unexpectedly large scatter of individual dates as well as systematic biases. Very high values of linear correlation coefficients are observed for all results of Stage 2 and for benzene samples of Stage 1. We observed moderate correlations for carbonate samples and the lowest for natural samples of wood and peat of Stage 3. The correlation is practically negligible among results obtained in different stages. The probable reasons for such effects are seen in medium-term changes in the calibration of the counting systems.