• Microchemical and Molecular Dating

      Currie, L. A.; Stafford, T. W.; Sheffield, A. E.; Klouda, G. A.; Wise, S. A.; Fletcher, R. A.; Donahue, Douglas J.; Jull, A. J. Timothy; Linick, T. W. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1989-01-01)
      The depth and reliability of archaeological and environmental information on ages, sources and pathways of carbon are being greatly enhanced through a new synergism between advances in "micro 14C dating" and advances in micro-organic analytical chemistry and individual particle characterization. Recent activities at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, formerly NBS) involving this linkage include dating individual amino acids isolated from bone collagen and the apportionment or tracing of individual carbon compounds derived from anthropogenic sources. Important knowledge has been gained through "direct" (sequential) and "indirect" (parallel) links between microchemistry and 14C measurement. The former is illustrated by 14C measurements on specific amino acids and on the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) class of compounds. Isolation of the respective molecular fractions from far greater quantities of extraneous carbon held the key to valid dating and source apportionment respectively. Parallel data on 14C and molecular patterns promises new knowledge about the identity of sources of environmental carbon at the nanogram level through multivariate techniques such as principal component analysis and multiple linear regression. Examples are given for atmospheric particulate carbon, using PAM molecular patterns and laser microprobe mass spectral patterns.