• Radiocarbon Dating of Sediments

      Fowler, Alison J.; Gillespie, Richard; Hedges, Robert M. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
    • Radiocarbon Dating of Lake Sediment from Two Karst Lakes in Yugoslavia

      Srdoč, Dušan; Obelić, Bogomil; Horvatinčić, Nada; Krajcar-Bronić, Ines; Marčenko, Elena; Merkt, Joseph; Wong, How Kin; Sliepčević, Adela (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Samples of sediment cores from two lakes in the karst area of northwest Yugoslavia were analyzed. Both Lakes Kozjak and Prošće are in the Plitvice National Park, Central Croatia. 14C dating, sedimentologic, seismic, and isotopic studies, and distribution of diatoms are presented. 14C dating of lake marl revealed a uniforn sedimentation rate in Lake Prošće as opposed to Lake Kozjak. Both lake sediments belong to the Holocene period. 14C dating of lake sediment is in agreement with seismic profiles, sedimentologic analysis, and diatom frequency measurements both in an undisturbed as well as in a disturbed lake sediment.
    • A Study of Errors in 14C Dates of Peat and Sediment

      Olsson, Ingrid U. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      It is a well-established fact that 14C dates from lake sediments are usually too old because of contamination with allochthonous material and/or due to discrete reservoir effects. The latter can occur in soft water lakes and may be examined by the 14C measurement of aqueous plants or the carbon dissolved and suspended in the water column. Some plants assimilate CO2 from the sediment. Their 14C activity is then dependent on the sediment accumulation rate and nutrients stored in the root system may also contribute misleading results. If water is filtered through ultra-fine membranes and then treated chemically, several fractions can be isolated for dating. The present study shows that the 14C activity of such fractions varies widely but with the weighted mean indicating an overall deficiency. Even the water from a raised bog evidences a 14C deficiency relative to contemporary atmospheric CO2. Charcoal from an archaeologic site and peat from corresponding layers in a nearby bog have yielded significantly different ages. The fact that the Cladium peat was from a very calcareous area is significant. The risk of contamination by younger root material is also documented.
    • A Discussion of an Alternate Approach to the Evaluation of Sample Contamination

      Gurfinkel, D. M. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      An approach to the evaluation of sample contamination based on the monitoring of contaminant removal during pretreatment is described. Spot tests and colorimetric reactions which could be adapted for this purpose are suggested.
    • Radiocarbon in Particulate Matter from the Eastern Sub-Arctic Pacific Ocean: Evidence of a Source of Terrestrial Carbon to the Deep Sea

      Druffel, Ellen R. M.; Honjo, Susumu; Griffin, Sheila; Wong, C. S. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Carbon isotope ratios were measured in organic and inorganic carbon of settling particulate matter collected with a sediment trap at Ocean Station "P" in the Gulf of Alaska from March to October, 1983. Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIG) in surface sea water collected during two different seasons in 1984 were analyzed using large gas proportional counters and revealed a minimum seasonal Delta-14C variation of 14 per mil. Results show that the 14C of calcium carbonate sedimenting to the deep sea is the same as that measured in surface water DIG. In contrast, particulate organic carbon (POC) had significantly higher Delta-14C values (by 25-70 per mil) than that in surface water DIG. Also, the delta-13C of the POC was markedly lower than previously reported values from other trap stations and marine particulate matter in general. Results from this study suggest that a significant amount of the POC settling to the deep sea at this pelagic station is of terrestrial origin, not strictly of marine origin as had previously been believed.
    • Uptake of Anthropogenic CO2 by Lateral Transport Models of the Ocean Based on the Distribution of Bomb-Produced 14C

      Peng, Tsung Hung (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The pattern of global water column inventories of bomb-produced 14C suggests that a sizeable portion of bomb 14C that entered the Antarctic, northern Pacific, and tropical oceans has been transported to adjacent temperate regions. Models of lateral transport of surface water in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans are based on this distribution pattern. Upwelling of bomb-14C-free water from below takes place in the Antarctic, northern Pacific, and tropical regions; downwelling of surface water occurs in the temperate oceans and northern Atlantic. Uptake of excess CO2 by these models is calculated using the observed Mauna Loa pCO2 record as an input function. Results indicate that 35% of fossil fuel CO2 is taken up by these model oceans during the period 1.958-1980. Considering the observed airborne fraction of 0.55, it appears that ca 10% of the global fossil fuel CO2 is still missing.
    • Establishment of a Working Data Base for the International Exchange of 14C Data Using Universal Transfer Formats

      Wilcock, J. D.; Otlet, R. L.; Walker, A. J.; Charlesworth, S. A.; Drodge, J. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      A high-level record structure for the international communication of 14C data bases is proposed. The record structure is based on the high-level communication format first proposed by the authors at the 23rd International Symposium on Archaeometry, Naples, 1983 and does not require the abandonment of existing systems. A description is given of an implementation of the high-level system at Harwell, with examples of retrieval in an international format (the Radiocarbon date list format) and a keyword-organized local format.
    • The AMS Dating of Separate Fractions in Archaeology

      Batten, R. J.; Gillespie, Richard; Gowlett, J. A. J.; Hedges, Robert E. M. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
    • The Chemical Preparation of AgCl for Measuring 36Cl in Polar Ice with Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

      Conard, N. J.; Elmore, David; Kubik, P. W.; Gove, H. E.; Tubbs, L. E.; Chrunyk, B. A.; Wahlen, Martin (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      A method of chemical separation and purification of chloride from relatively small samples (500 to 2100g) of glacial ice is presented. With this procedure the first successful measurements of pre-bomb levels of 36Cl in Greenland ice have been made. Emphasis is placed on methods of reducing sulfur, which causes interference in the accelerator mass spectrometry, and in maximizing the yield. Data regarding the selection of materials for sample holders and the use of metal powders for extending the lifetime of the sample are also presented.
    • The Power of 14C Measurements Combined with Chemical Characterization for Tracing Urban Aerosol in Norway

      Currie, L. A.; Klouda, G. A.; Schjoldager, Jorgen; Ramdahl, Thomas (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Changing fuel patterns and increased awareness of health effects from combustion aerosols have generated considerable interest in the use of 14C as a biogenic-fossil aerosol source discriminator. Prior studies in the US demonstrated the importance of 14C measurement for estimating the wood-burning contribution to urban aerosols. The present work treats a specific air-pollution problem in the town of Elverum, Norway where large wintertime concentrations of aerosol carbon and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were suspected to come from residential woodl combustion (RWC). The problem was significant in that up to 50 micrograms/m3[C] and 490 micrograms/m3[PAH] were found during pollution episodes. Samples collected during two winters were analyzed for C, C, PAH, and several elements in the fine fraction (<3 micrometers) aerosol. Source apportionment based on these species indicated an average of ca 65% RWC-carbon (14C), ca 5% fine particle mass from motor vehicles (Pb), but negligible contributions from heavy fuel oil (Ni, V). Patterns of 14C and total C, examined as a function of temperature and PAH, indicated large increases in RWC aerosol on the coldest days, and a major RWC contribution to the PAH fraction. Patterns with inorganic species implied multiple tracer sources, and one important case of long-range transport.
    • The Potential of the London Underground for Liquid Scintillation Counting

      Bowman, Sheridan (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      A portable gamma spectrometer has been used to survey three locations that are part of the London Underground Transport System (the "tube"). Up to an order of magnitude reduction in the cosmic ray flux was observed relative to the laboratory level. The likely reduction in background count rate achievable by underground siting of currently used Packard and LKB liquid scintillation counters is considered. It is noted that in the present, surface usage for radiocarbon dating, the background count rate of low-potassium glass vials in the LKB is not substanially higher than that of PTFE vials.
    • The Effects of Contamination of Calcareous Sediments on Their Radiocarbon Ages

      Srdoč, Dušan; Horvatinčić, Nada; Obelić, Bogomil; Krajcar-Bronić, Ines; O, Malley Peg (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Two principal reasons for the inherent uncertainty in 14C dating of calcareous sediments such as tufa or those of lacustrine origin are the unknown initial 14C activity (A0) of the sediment, mainly affecting younger (Holocene) samples, and contamination of older sediments with recent carbonate, causing 14C ages to be excessively young. To assess the contamination effect, samples of old tufa from the Riss/Würm interglacial were examined. These sediments contain essentially no 14C except that contributed by surface contamination. Tufa samples were crushed and grains ranging in size from <1 mm, 1 to 2mm, up to 4 to 5mm were separated for analysis; 2M HCl was then used to dissolve the samples in successive steps. 14C measurements indicated that each subsequent soluble fraction obtained from porous tufa gave a successively older age, indicating that the surface of the sample was contaminated by younger carbonates. No consistent effect of grain size on the 14C age was observed. Compact tufa proved to be less subject to contamination. 14C ages obtained on this material were also too young, yet older than the age obtained from porous tufa samples. C ages of interglacial tufa were cross-checked with the 230Th/234U dating method, using samples of very clean calcite which overlies the tufa blocks. Inferred 230Th/234U ages of the interglacial tufa (which had yielded 14C dates ranging from 25,000 to 37,000 yr) coincided with the last interglacial (Riss/Wurm, Stage 5). Samples of Holocene tufa, in which contributions of recent 14C from surface contamination would pose less of a problem, yielded 14C and 230Th/234U dates which were in excellent agreement.
    • The ETH/SIN Dating Facility: A Status Report

      Bonani, Georges; Hofmann, Hans-Jakob; Morenzoni, Elvezio; Nessi, Marzio; Suter, Martin; Wölfli, Willy (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The ETH/SIN AMS dating facility is routinely used for 10Be,14C, 26Al, and 36Cl measurements. The present status and performance of this facility are reviewed and some of its major applications summarized.
    • Validity of 14C Ages of Carbonates in Sediments

      Chen, Yijian; Polach, Henry (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      This review is based on geologic surveys carried out in Australia and China as well as on more than 300 14C dates published in Radiocarbon. Evaluated are the origins and pathways of carbonate formation, stable isotopic composition, carbonate nodule growth rates and paleo-climatic effects. The three identified delta-13C abundance peaks are unrelated to environment and carbon source whilst 14C ages group themselves into periods corresponding to past humid warm climate. It is concluded that the major error in caliche dating is due to incorporation of old limestone whilst error on nodule dating is related to their slow growth rate. Thus, caliche antedates and nodules postdate the times of their deposition. delta-13C values cannot be used to correct for limestone or atmospheric contamination effects
    • The Development of Practical Systems for 14C Measurement in Small Samples Using Miniature Counters

      Otlet, R. L.; Huxtable, George; Sanderson, D. W. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Miniature gas counters have been in use since the early 1960s for the measurement of 14C but were for a long time seen as suitable for providing approximate indications of activity rather than measurements for more precise dates. In recent years the need for better measurements of small samples has posed a continuing challenge for the 14C laboratories. This paper examines how the challenge has been met across the world using conventional beta decay counting techniques and proportional gas counters of 50ml volume or less. A survey is made of the rise of these techniques and attention paid to the solution through modern technology of earlier problems. Some practical systems, now in routine use, are described and consideration is given to the future for miniature counter measurements. Such systems have several attractive features that will guarantee their usefulness in 14C measurements for the future.
    • Extension of the Holocene Dendrochronology by the Preboreal Pine Series, 8800 to 10,100 BP

      Becker, Bernd; Kromer, Bernd (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Holocene tree-ring chronologies have been established for south-central Europe covering the past 11,000 years. The Hohenheim absolute oak chronology extends to 4089 BC. The 14C-calibrated mid-Holocene floating oak master covers a 3181-year period from ca 4045 to 7225 BC. The earliest well-replicated floating oak master (estimated calendar age 7215 to 7825 BC) extends the European oak dendrochronology back to Boreal times. Further extension of the Holocene dendrochronology has been achieved by subfossil oak and pine trees from the Rhine, Main, and Danube Rivers. A 774-year floating series of Preboreal pine has been established. 14C ages range (from younger to older end) from 9200 to 9800 BP. Within this series a major atmospheric 14C variation is indicated, resulting in nearly constant 14C ages (9600 BP) over a period of 370 tree-rings. The European oak and pine tree-ring chronologies cover without major gaps the entire Holocene epoch. Based on the length of the dendro-records, an approximate solar year age of 11,280 years is calculate for the Holocene/Pleistocene boundary. The Preboreal pine forests along the rivers were replaced by mixed oak forests between 9200 and 8800 BP. By linking the earliest oak masters and the Preboreal pine series, the European dendrochronology can be extended up to the end of Late Glacial times.
    • Fast and Complete CO2-to-Graphite Conversion for 14C Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

      Hut, Gert; Östlund, H. Göte; van der Borg, Klaas (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      With Fe powder as a catalyst, CO2 is completely converted to graphite within 90 minutes. The reaction proceeds at 650 degrees C with an excess of H2. The reaction rate is enlarged by forced circulation and by keeping the water vapor pressure very low. The graphite samples obtained, consisting of 5mg of carbon, almost immediately produce stable 12C- currents of the order of 20-30 micro-A in the sputter source of a Van de Graaff accelerator. The currents can be maintained for at least 10 hours and are comparable to those from commercial graphite. No memory effects in the preparation system have been observed.
    • Glassy Microspherules from Bomb Combustion of Charcoal

      Burleigh, Richard; Meeks, Nigel (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
    • Global and Local Effects of 14C Discharges from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

      McCartney, Martin; Baxter, M. S.; McKay, Keith; Scott, E. Marian (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The radiologic impact of 14C produced by the nuclear fuel cycle is assessed at both global and local levels. In the former context, it is predicted here that the specific activity of atmospheric CO2 in the year 2050 will be ca 7.6 pCig^(-1)C. Although this is similar to the present level, the subsequent collective dose commitment could be highly significant. The enhancement of 14C concentrations around the nuclear fuel-reprocessing plant at Sellafield (Windscale) in Cumbria, UK has been monitored over recent years. For example, maximum levels of 27.2 pCig^(-1)C (~350% above natural) during 1984 were observed <1 km from the plant, with enhanced activities detectable to at least 29km. Nevertheless, it is clear that the radiologic significance to the local population is low. The spatial distribution of the excess 14C allows atmospheric dispersion models to be tested in the context of continuous releases and the results thus far show that the Gaussian plume model performs successfully.
    • The Prehistoric Expansion of Farming Into "Arctic" Norway: A Chronology Based on 14C Dating

      Johansen, Olav Sverre; Vorren, Karl-Dag (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Palynologic and archaeologic studies using 14C dating indicate that elements of farming were introduced even further north than the Arctic Circle during the Neolithic period, ca 4000 BP. A second stage with heavier reliance on farming and with probable establishment of permanent farmsteads is dated to 2000-2500 BP.