• A 14C Electronic Measurement System with a Microcomputer

      Walanus, Adam (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Even though the reliability of equipment has improved, the quality of measurement should still be checked. This task may be performed by a microcomputer with the physicist's intervention only when an error in measurement is detected.
    • A Low-Cost Miniature Counter System for Radiocarbon Dating

      Jelen, Kazimierz; Geyh, Mebus A. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Despite the great potential of the AMS technique for 14C dating of milligram samples, the use of multiple miniature counter systenis is still promising. Investment costs are relatively low and long-term financing of age determinations can be held within bounds. We have developed a 14C dating systeni containing 10 miniature counters for $30,000, whereas commercial systems usually cost more than $150,000. Counting is not quite as good as that of the technically more sophisticated commercial systems, but the disadvantage for routine work is not significant. CO2 preparation and purification take less than 30 minutes of active work including measurement and data evaluation. The cost of one age determination on a 22mg sample is about $35.00.
    • A Review of the Operation of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit

      Batten, R. J.; Bronk, C. R.; Gillespie, Richard; Gowlett, J. A. J.; Hedges, R. E. M.; Perry, Colin (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      We describe here the general operation of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Laboratory which has now been dating routinely for 18 months.
    • 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.
    • Accelerator Mass Spectrometry with Fully Stripped 36Cl Ions

      Haberstock, Günther; Heinzl, Johann; Korschinek, Gunther; Morinaga, Haruhiko; Nolte, Eckehart; Ratzinger, Ulrich; Kato, Kazuo; Wolf, Manfred (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      A description of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) measurements with the long-lived radioisotope 36Cl is given. All measurements were made at the Munich tandem accelerator laboratory. Results are presented for 36Cl measurements in ground waters, in the meteorite Bjurböle, in ice-core samples of the Vernagtferner, Austria, and in granite samples from Hiroshima, Japan, irradiated by the atomic bomb explosion in 1945.
    • Accelerator Radiocarbon Dating at SFU

      Nelson, D. E.; Vogel, J. S.; Southon, J. R.; Brown, T. A. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The Simon Fraser University accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) facility has now been in semi-routine use since the beginning of 1985. The advantages and limitations for 14C dating are described.
    • AMS Radiocarbon Dates on Foraminifera from Deep Sea Sediments

      Andree, Michael; Oeschger, Hans; Broecker, Wallace S.; Beavan, Nancy; Mix, Alan C.; Bonani, Georges; Hofmann, Hans Jakob; Morenzoni, Elvezio; Nessi, Marzio; Suter, Martin; et al. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      14C ages were determined on samples of foraminifera separated from cores from three areas of the tropical Pacific (Fast Pacific Rise, Oontong Java Plateau, and South China Sea). Analyses were made on four planktonic species and on mixed benthics. The purpose of the multiple analysis on planktonic species is to assess the importance of artifacts resulting from the bioturbation-abundance change couple, from the bioturbation-partial dissolution couple and from redeposition by bottom currents. The goal is to use the benthic-planktonic age difference as a means of establishing changes in deep sea ventilation rate over the past 25,000 years. Results of a part of this work are presented in this paper.
    • An Intercomparison of Some AMS and Small Gas Counter Laboratories

      Burleigh, Richard; Leese, Morven; Tite, Michael (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The performance of six laboratories with the capacity to date small samples (4 AMS and 2 small gas-counter laboratories) has been compared using 100mg samples of textiles from Ancient Egypt and Peru, with the British Museum laboratory acting as independent coordinator. This intercomparison was one of normal practices and has demonstrated that a coherent series of results can be obtained when several laboratories undertake blindfold measurements, although the occurrence of outliers emphasizes the continuing need for the dating of unusually important or controversial samples to be undertaken by a group of laboratories.
    • Annual Variations of the 14C Content of Soil CO2

      Dörr, Helmut; Münnich, K. O. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      A 6-year and a 2-year record of 14C measurements of soil CO2 in two soils are presented and discussed. The annual 14C variation of soil CO2 is controlled by the seasonally varying contribution of root respiration and of microbial decomposition of organic matter producing soil CO2. The Delta-14C soil CO2 difference between summer and winter is ca 50 per mil in a soil where turnover of organic matter is fast (r = 2.5a) and ca 100 per mil in a soil of slow turnover (r = 60a). A simple model describing the movement and turnover of organic matter is derived, giving the depth distributions of organic carbon and of 14C. The model needs a subdivision of the carbon reservoir into at least two reservoirs with residence times of r1= 1a and r2 = 100a, respectively, and with a vertical transfer velocity in the order of 0.6mm/a.
    • Anomalous High 14C Activity Found in Recent Corals from the Philippines

      Willkomm, Horst (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The carbonate skeletons of small living corals collected in Spring 1981 from Cebu Island, the Philippines, had 14C activities up to 147% of recent standard. Similarly high values were found in the carbonate structure of three large coral heads, where the 14C content of six penetrating cores was measured. In these corals the activity of the outer parts grown since 1960 reached values as high as 155% (corrected for delta-13C = -25 per mil) while the inner part grown from 1860 to 1950 had values of 106 to 110%. The 14C content of corals should be ca 116% due to the atomic bomb effect and 95% before 1955. The samples were taken from the shore, exposed to tidal waters, so that local contamination is improbable. Organic samples collected from the same region showed normal 14C activity.
    • Anthropogenic Radiocarbon: Past, Present, and Future

      Povinec, Pavel; Chudý, Martin; Šivo, Alexander (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      14C is one of the most important anthropogenic radionuclides released to the environment by human activities. Weapon testing raised the 14C concentration in the atmosphere and biosphere to +100% above the natural level. This excess of atmospheric 14C at present decreases with a half-life of ca 7 years. Recently, a new source of artificially produced 14C in nuclear reactors has become important. Since 1967, the Bratislava 14C laboratory has been measuring 14C in atmospheric 14CO2 and in a variety of biospheric samples in densely populated areas and in areas close to nuclear power plants. We have been able to identify a heavy-water reactor and the pressurized water reactors as sources of anthropogenic 14C. 14C concentrations show typical seasonal variations. These data are supported by measurements of 3H and 85Kr in the same locations. Results of calculations of future levels of anthropogenic 14C in the environment due to increasing nuclear reactor installations are presented.
    • Applications of the Use of Hawthorn Berries in Monitoring 14C Emissions from a UK Nuclear Establishment Over an Extended Period

      Walker, A. J.; Otlet, R. L.; Longley, Harry (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The paper describes a study undertaken to examine the dispersion pattern of gaseous emissions, as indicated by 14C uptake in natural materials, around the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield, Cumbria, UK. The extent and directional dispersion of the released 14C is established and its variability over an extended period assessed. Results of measurements taken during three sampling seasons (1981,1982,1983) of the 14C activity in hawthorn berries collected over a wide area are presented and the dispersion pattern contours constructed from them are examined. Only limited agreement of the results with the theoretical relationship 1/r is found and both meteorology and topography are seen to be important in determining the shape of the observed patterns.
    • Archaeologic Sherd Dating: Comparison of Thermoluminescence Dates with Radiocarbon Dates by Beta Counting and Accelerator Techniques

      Johnson, R. A.; Stipp, J. J.; Tamers, M. A.; Bonani, Georges; Suter, Martin; Wölfli, Willy (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Sherds can be dated by four independent methods. 14C beta counting on associated material, accelerator mass spectrometry on carbon traces on and within the sherd, thermoluminescence studies on minerals within the sherd, and stylistic form. Age analyses of materials and sherds from several sites are shown in this work. Each technique has its own frequently encountered non-laboratory sources of error. A combination of at least two independent techniques is indispensable for the highest level of confidence.
    • Background Measurements with Different Shielding and Anticoincidence Systems

      Loosli, H. H.; Forster, Markus; Otlet, R. L. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Extremely low background count rates are a necessary condition for both the measurement of 39Ar concentrations in ground and ocean water and of 14C activities in small samples using gas proportional counting techniques. A systematic comparison of the performance of three different designs of shielding systems in four different installations has been made. Background values of selected gas proportional counters were measured, compared and separated into their various components. Acceptably low backgrounds were obtained in all the systems tried. The performance of a Nail shield in a surface laboratory was found to be at least equal to the best obtained with a gas ariticoincidence detector in a deep underground laboratory.
    • Bomb Produced 14C Content in Tree Rings Grown at Different Latitudes

      Dai, Kai-Mei; Fan, C. Y. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The 14C content in 1961-1967 rings of each of three spruce pines grown at (68 degrees N, 130 degrees W), (47 degrees 30' N, 129 degrees 16' E) and (27 degrees 13' N,100 degrees 20' E) were measured. Delta-14C values of the three specimens rise dramatically from a common level (~250 per mil) in 1961 to their respective maxima, 964 per mil, 909 per mil, and 743 per mil in 1964 and then fall to a common level ~680 per mil in 1967. The observed Delta-14C increase comes most likely from the nuclear bomb test of the USSR at 75 degrees N in 1961, although there were many other tests since the 1950s. The different effects at different latitudes reflect the atmospheric circulation patterns in the stratosphere and the transport of 14C nuclei from the stratosphere to the troposphere.
    • Carbon Cycle: 1985 Glacial to Interglacial Changes in the Operation of the Global Carbon Cycle

      Broecker, Wallace S.; Peng, Tsung-Hung (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The hottest topic for those interested in the earth's carbon cycles is the change in atmospheric CO2 content between glacial and interglacial time. What caused it? What is its role in glacial cycles? We evaluate here the hypotheses that have been put forward to explain the CO2 change with evidence from deep sea sediments. We conclude that all the hypotheses have serious drawbacks and that much effort will have to be expended in gathering more data from ice cores and ocean sediments before we will be pointed toward the correct scenario. Also, thoughtful modeling aimed at depicting the ties between pCO2, O2, 13C/12C, 14C/12C, and nutrient constituents in the sea for various modes of circulation will have to be done before the evidence from ocean cores can be properly interpreted.
    • Carbon Isotopes in Atmospheric CO2 of the Krakow Region: A Two-Year Record

      Kuc, Tadeusz (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      We have been measuring concentration of atmospheric CO2 and its carbon isotope composition in the Kraków region for about two years. Samples are continuously collected at two-week intervals at ca 20m above ground level, close to the center of the industrialized urban area. Sampled atmospheric CO2 is sorbed in a molecular sieve and, after recovery by heating, is converted to benzene. 14C is measured in a liquid scintillation spectrometer, and delta-13C of the CO2 is determined in a mass spectrometer. The annual record shows winter-summer variation of 14C, 13C, and CO2 concentration. A long-term trend for 1983 and 1984 indicates a slight decrease of 14C activity (122.0 in January 1983; -1.2% per year), a permanent decrease of delta-13CPDB (-9.3 per mil in January 1983; -0.3 per mil per year) and an increase of CO2 concentration (344ppm in January 1983; 1.4ppm per year).
    • Dating of Holocene Stratigraphy with Soluble and Insoluble Organic Fractions at the Lubbock Lake Archaeological Site, Texas: An Ideal Case Study

      Haas, Herbert; Holliday, Vance; Stuckenrath, Robert (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The Lubbock Lake site, on the Southern High Plains of Texas, contains one of the most complete and best-dated late Quaternary records in North America. A total of 117 14C dates are available from the site, determined by the Smithsonian and SMU Laboratories. Of these dates, 84 have been derived from residues (humin) and humates (humic acids) of organic-rich marsh sediments and A horizons of buried soils. Most of the ages are consistent with dates determined on charcoal and wood, and with the archaeologic and stratigraphic record. The dates on the marsh sediments are approximate points in time. Dates from the top of buried A-horizons are a maximum for burial and in many cases are close to the actual age of burial. Dates from the base of the A-horizons are a minimum for the beginning of soil formation, in some cases as much as several thousand years younger than the initiation of pedogenesis. A few pairs of dates were obtained from hurnin and humic acid derived from split samples; there are no consistencies in similarities or differences in these age pairs. It also became apparent that dates determined on samples from scraped trench walls or excavations that were left open for several years are younger than dates from samples taken from exactly the same locations when the sampling surfaces were freshly excavated.
    • Dating Polar Ice by 14C Accelerator Mass Spectormetry

      Andree, Michael; Beer, Jürg; Loetscher, H. P.; Moor, Ernst; Oeschger, Hans; Bonani, Georges; Hofmann, Hans Jakob; Morenzoni, Elvezio; Nessi, Marzio; Suter, Martin; et al. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Results of 14C/12C ratio measurements on CO2 extracted from air bubbles in polar ice are presented. The samples investigated originate from the Dye 3, South Greenland, deep ice core and span approximately the last 10,000 years. The results are calibrated with tree-ring records. The 14C ages are compared with information obtained from seasonal variations of ice-core parameters and rheologic model calculation.