• 14C Dating and Magnetostratigraphy

      Thompson, Roy (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      The history of the earth's magnetic field is preserved in the fossil magnetism of archaeologic specimens, natural rocks and sediments. Samples such as lava flows and baked sherds that acquired a thermoremanent magnetization on cooling can be used to estimate ancient geomagnetic field intensities and directions. Paleofield directions can also be obtained from fine-grained sediments that acquired detrital magnetic remanence when deposited. Study of the earth's magnetic field over the last few tens of thousands of years yields information on geomagnetic dynamo theories, causes of fluctuations in cosmic-ray activity, and the formulation of a new regional chronologic tool.
    • 14C Variations During the Upper Pleistocene

      Vogel, J. C. (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      Parallel determinations of 14C and ionium dates on a stalagmite from the Cango Caves provide evidence of variations in the 14C content of the atmosphere beyond the range of the California tree-ring sequence. During the Holocene growth period the 230Th dates are compatible with the tree-ring calibrated 14C dates. At 18,000 BP and between 30,000 and 40,000 BP the 14C ages are markedly younger than the 230Th ages, suggesting that the 14C level of the atmosphere was considerably higher at these times. Between the 230Th ages of 35,000 and 29,000 BP the 14C ages remain nearly constant at 29,500 BP, indicating that 14C production must have been drastically reduced during this period. The 14C fluctuation is greater than that predicted by Barbetti (1980) but it may be explained by postulating a substantial increase in the geomagnetic dipole field, for which there is mounting evidence.
    • A Contribution to the Interpretation of 14C Groundwater Ages Considering the Example of a Partially Confirmed Sandstone Aquifer

      Eichinger, Lorenz (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      Previously described models and a new model were compared to determine the initial 14C content of groundwater in a partially-confined and unconfined sandstone aquifer (Fränkisches Albvorland, Germany). Isotope and chemical data were derived from samples of water, soil-CO2, and solid carbonates. The various 14C models lead to important differences in resulting groundwater ages. From the relationship between 14C and 2H or 18O concentrations of groundwater, it must be assumed that chemical and/or physical carbon isotope exchange between the DIC and the solid carbonate has occurred provided the groundwater with lower 18O and 2H concentrations was generated during the Pleistocene. Groundwater ages deduced from 14C and 39Ar concentrations showed discrepancies which can be explained if carbon isotope exchange between DIC and solid carbonate as well as mixing of recent and fossil waters is considered.
    • A Multiple Proportional 14C Counter System for Milligram-Sized Samples

      Hut, Gert; Keyser, Jan; Wijma, Stef (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      A system of 10 proportional 14C counters has been designed. The counters have a volume of 35ml and are operated with CO2 at a pressure of 1 bar and a voltage of 3300V. The amplified signals of the counters are fed through an analog multiplexer to the inputs of three discriminators. The Geiger signal is fed to a separate discriminator. A logic circuit selects from these discriminators the alpha, beta, muon, and purity counts which are then stored in a microcomputer (ITT 2020 with 48K RAM), where the necessary calculations are also performed. The purity of the gas sample is monitored by counting a part of the muon spectrum. The alpha and beta pulses are stored during 95% of the measuring period; the remaining 5% is used for registration of the muon and purity pulses. The overall accuracy of the system for modern carbon samples is 2% after a counting period of 6 days.
    • A Secondary Standard for Radiocarbon Dating

      Angiolini, Fernando E.; Albero, Miguel C. (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      The preparation and calibration of a secondary standard for the INGEIS Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory are presented. This standard is barium carbonate with a specific activity almost twice that of NBS oxalic acid. It was prepared from BaCO3 with high specific activity and commercial potassium carbonate by an isotopic dilution technique. The advantages of this standard are: 1) the preparation is simple and can be achieved with ordinary labware; 2) the production of CO2 by acid attack from this carbonate shows minimum isotopic fractionation. At least, it has less fractionation than wet oxidation of oxalic acid, the problems of which are described in the literature. This standard ensures better reproducibility in activity measurements; 3) despite some problems of activity exchange with atmospheric CO2 concerning carbonates, measurements of activity over a period of about two years have shown no significant deviation from the mean value. A tentative explanation of this phenomenon is also given. The activity ratio between BaCO3 and NBS oxalic acid is given with its error, and the statistical tests used in the calibration are briefly explained. Finally, a control chart for the activity of the standard over a long period is drawn, showing non-significant deviation and supporting the usefulness of this standard.
    • Accelerator Mass Spectrometry: From Nuclear Physics to Dating

      Kutschera, Walter (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
    • An Evaluation of Shielding Characteristics Applicable to Mini-Gas-Proportional Counter-Based 14C Dating Systems

      Kaihola, Lauri; Kojola, Hannu; Polach, Henry; Soini, Erkki; Otlet, Robert (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      A mini-gas-proportional counter prototype of 10ml capacity (at NTP) was constructed of oxygen-free Finnish copper. The counter tube will be one of 16 equivalent tubes of a small-sample gas counting system, which is equipped with passive graded shield made of lead, cadmium, and copper and a dual active anticoincidence shield, consisting of an external cosmic gas-proportional and an internal plastic scintillation guard. The aim of this study was to evaluate the parameters leading to the design of a cost-effective and compact shielding package for mini-counters.
    • An International Reference Material for Radiocarbon Dating

      Mann, W. B. (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      In August 1980, the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) issued, in the form of oxalic acid, a new International Reference Material of contemporary 14C for use in radiocarbon dating laboratories. This reference material was to replace the 1975 oxalic-acid standard, supplies of which had been practically exhausted in 1978. The preparation of the new oxalic-acid standard was described in a preliminary report, as were, also, the results then available for the activity-concentration ratio of the new to the old standard obtained by a number of leading international laboratories. With the recent completion of the analysis of all results submitted by the participating laboratories, NBS plans to issue these recently calibrated samples of oxalic acid as an NBS Standard Reference Material. There is, however, no significant difference in the reported value of its activity concentration, relative to that of the 1957 standard, from that given provisionally in 1980. Subsequent to our report (Cavallo and Mann, 1980) a further measurement of relative activity concentration was reported by the Radiocarbon Laboratory of Peking University. Their value, and that also for Delta-13C, is insignificantly different from the average value of the results submitted by the eleven laboratories that participated in the international comparison organized by NBS.
    • Anthropogenic Changes in Organic Carbon and Trace Metal Input to Lake Washington

      Schell, W. R.; Swanson, J. R.; Currie, L. A. (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      An example of how man's contaminants are introduced, deposited, and retained in sediments giving a chronological record of events has been developed for Lake Washington, Seattle. Significant amounts of both inorganic and organic compounds in the environment originate from fossil fuel sources, such as power plants and motor vehicles. Many organic compounds are introduced also from contemporary biogenic materials. Through the combined carbon isotope analysis technique (CCIA), we can distinguish between fossil and contemporary carbon sources classes (using 14C), as well as sources within each class (using 13C). To establish the chronology of the organic carbon pollutant input to the lake sediment, the ages of the layers were determined using 210pb dating techniques. Sediment profiles of trace metals and a fallout radionuclide plutonium were also obtained and compared with the carbon isotope profiles. The results show that the total organic carbon (TOC) concentration correspond to 93% modern carbon before 1905. This 14C concentration in TOC decreased to ∼60% modern in the 1930's and now is between 95 and 80% modern. The lipid fraction is ca 30% modern and the total aromatic hydrocarbon fraction reached a minimum of 5% modern in 1954. The large decrease in 14C of TOC around 1930 is believed to be due to coal dust or fly ash. The trace metal concentration also increased substantially at this time. The pattern observed in the sediment thus reflects the change in the local energy consumption pattern from a predominately coal to an oil-based economy. From the plutonium profile we infer that mixing occurs for 3 or 4 years before the sediment layers are compacted.
    • Calibrated 14C Dates in Central Europe - Same as Elsewhere?

      Freundlich, J. C.; Schmidt, Burghart (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      14C dating results derived from an absolutely-dated 471-year tree-ring sequence from central European oak show a trend towards somewhat older dates than those for bristlecone pine tree rings of the same age, but similar to those for Egyptian historical samples. Differences visible between these trend lines are not relevant considering the standard errors proposed by Clark (1975).
    • Current 14C Measurements with the University of Washington Accelerator Facility for Radioisotope Dating

      Farwell, G. W.; Grootes, P. M.; Leach, D. D.; Schmidt, F. H.; Stuiver, Minze (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      Our accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) system shows a one-to-one relationship between sample 14C concentrations determined by AMS and by Beta-counting. Measurements of unknown samples against a standard indicate that 14C concentration measurements to better than 2% can be made. For a 30-second data collection interval in a typical run of 100 intervals, the variability of the beam injected into the accelerator is ca 2%, that of the machine transmission is ca 4%, and counting statistics give 4.7% standard deviation for a sample of 80% of modern carbon.
    • Database Management Systems, Radiocarbon, and Archaeology

      Moffett, J. C.; Webb, R. E. (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
    • Detection of the 36Cl Radioisotope at the Rehovot 14UD Pelletron Accelerator

      Paul, Michael; Meirav, Oded; Henning, Walter; Kutschera, Walter; Kaim, Robert; Goldberg, Mark B.; Gerber, Jean; Hering, William; Kaufman, Aaron; Magaritz, Mordeckai (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      A program of accelerator mass spectrometry has been started at the Rehovot 14UD Pelletron Accelerator Laboratory. Part of the initial emphasis has been directed to the detection of the 36Cl radioisotope. We report here on the present status of our work and describe our experimental system. Preliminary results are presented, showing that 36Cl/Cl concentrations ranging down to 1 x 10−14 could be measured with our system.
    • Direct Bone Dating in a Small CO2 Counter

      Berger, Rainer (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      A small 200ml capacity CO2 proportional counting system has been developed which uses only 100mg of carbon for complete filling. Thus, with respect to the small quantities needed, it compares favorably to dedicated accelerators at significantly lower cost. The performance of this equipment is demonstrated using a variety of samples including some human bone fragments from La Jolla which had been estimated to be 28,000 years old by aspartic acid racemization analysis.
    • Evaluation of Direct-Precipitation and Gas-Evolution Methods for Radiocarbon Dating of Ground Water

      Yang, In Che (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      The extraction of dissolved carbonate species for age dating from a 100L water sample by the direct-precipitation method (DPM) and by the gas-evolution method (GEM) has been investigated. Stable carbon-isotope fractionation between initial and final carbon dioxide evolved was ca 11 per mil by GEM and 1 per mil by DPM. GEM will produce isotopically lighter carbon dioxide compared with DPM if carbonate recovery is low. Extraction efficiency of > 95% can be achieved by GEM in 3 hours using nitrogen gas at a sweeping rate of 2000cc per minute. DPM requires precipitates to settle overnight to assure > 95% recovery. GEM is little affected by a high concentration of sulfate ions, whereas DPM is greatly affected by sulfate resulting in less yield.
    • High-Precision 14C Measurement of Irish Oaks to Show the Natural 14C Variations from 200 BC to 4000 BC

      Pearson, G. W.; Pilcher, J. R.; Baillie, M. L. (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      Bi-decade samples of dendrochronologically matched Irish Oak, measured with a precision of ca +/20 years, covering the period 200 to 4000 BC are presented. The data are compared with the published data of Suess, de Jong, and Mook to provide a general calibration of the 14C time scale for this period. Although the dendrochronologic sequences presented are not absolutely tied to present, the best fit (based on 14C evidence) of the Belfast data to absolute chronologies, the error and evidence associated with such positioning is given. The intervals chosen for analysis were 20 years, reducing slightly the resolution of short-term variations when compared to 10-year intervals, which are sometimes measured. However, this calibration would suffice for most scientific purposes and certainly for the calendrical conversion of 14C dates derived from archaeologic samples.
    • High-Precision 14C Measurement of Irish Oaks to Show the Natural Atmospheric 14C Variations of the AD Time Period

      Pearson, G. W.; Baillie, M. G. L. (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
      The high-precision 14C measurement of bi-decade and decade samples of Irish Oak for the time period AD 50 to 1830 is presented. The samples were taken from dendrochronologically dated Irish Oak providing an absolute chronology for this period. While the natural atmospheric 14C concentration shows cyclic deviations from a constant value, the amplitudes of such deviations vary considerably. Repeated measurement and interlaboratory checks justify a claim to accuracy in the data given. Comparison of a large number of data sets between Belfast and Seattle show that the different techniques of scintillation counting of 14C6H6 and gas counting of 14CO2 derived from different wood species grown in different continents give no significant bias. Thus, it is justifiable to use this data set as a high-precision calibration curve for the AD period. Over most of this period bi-decade samples were measured giving a slightly reduced resolution of shortterm variation when compared to the measurement of decade intervals; however, any difference is not apparent when such curves are compared. It is of much greater importance that a comparison of data sets is without bias if a combined calibration curve is to have sufficient integrity for general use. Averaging the data from Belfast and Seattle would improve the validity of such an AD 14C calibration curve since it would tend to smooth out slight local variations and become internationally more acceptable.
    • International Agreements and the Use of the New Oxalic Acid Standard

      Stuiver, Minze (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)
    • Mid-Wisconsinan Radiocarbon Dates from Mastodon- and Mammoth-Bearing Springs, Ozark Highland, Missouri

      Haynes, C. V.; Stuiver, Minze; Haas, Herbert; King, J. E.; King, F. B.; Saunders, J. J. (American Journal of Science, 1983-01-01)