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Simple, rapid, and cost effective: a screening method for ^(14)C analysis of small carbonate samples

Bush, Shari L. and Santos, Guaciara M. and Xu, Xiaomei and Southon, John R. and Thiagarajan, Nivedita and Hines, Sophia K. and Adkins, Jess F. (2013) Simple, rapid, and cost effective: a screening method for ^(14)C analysis of small carbonate samples. Radiocarbon, 55 (2-3). pp. 631-640. ISSN 0033-8222.

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We have developed a simple, rapid method to screen carbonates for survey applications, which provides radiocarbon dates with decreased precision at lower cost. The method is based on previous work by Longworth et al. (2011) and involves mixing pulverized CaCO_3 with Fe powder, followed by pressing into aluminum target holders for direct ^(14)C accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) measurements. An optimum beam current averaging ~10% of those produced by >0.7 mg C graphite targets was obtained for carbonate samples of 0.3–0.5 mg (0.04–0.06 mg C). The precision of the method was evaluated by measuring triplicates of 14C reference materials, as well as by comparing results from this rapid method with results from high-precision AMS measurements on graphite (typically 0.2–0.3%). Measurement reproducibility was ~1.8% (1σ) for samples <10 ka BP, and it increased drastically for older samples. However, t tests on paired samples resulted in p values greater than 0.05, indicating a good correlation between this survey method and the conventional one. An average blank (calcite) of 0.0075 Fm (~39 ka BP) was achieved. The simplicity of the technique allowed us to process and measure 72 deep-sea coral samples in less than 25 hr.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Southon, John R.0000-0001-6168-6235
Hines, Sophia K.0000-0001-9357-6399
Adkins, Jess F.0000-0002-3174-5190
Additional Information:© 2013 Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona. We wish to thank the 2 anonymous reviewers for the very constructive and detailed suggestions and the editors Mark McClure and Tim Jull.
Issue or Number:2-3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131108-093622193
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Official Citation:BUSH, S., SANTOS, G., XU, X., SOUTHON, J., THIAGARAJAN, N., HINES, S., ADKINS, J.. Simple, Rapid, and Cost Effective: A Screening Method for 14C Analysis of Small Carbonate Samples. Radiocarbon, North America, 55, feb. 2013. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 08 Nov. 2013.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:42335
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:08 Nov 2013 22:13
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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