Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-78dcdb465f-mrc2z Total loading time: 0.396 Render date: 2021-04-17T19:05:53.271Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Direct AMS 14C Analysis of Carbonate

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 April 2019

Quan Hua
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Locked Bag 2001, Kirrawee DC, NSW 2232, Australia
Vladimir A Levchenko
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Locked Bag 2001, Kirrawee DC, NSW 2232, Australia
Matthew A Kosnik
Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia
E-mail address:


We have investigated the possibility of direct accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) measurement of carbonate samples at ANSTO using the STAR 2 MV tandem accelerator. Each carbonate sample was powdered, mixed with metal powder and pressed into an aluminum cathode for direct carbonate measurement by AMS 14C. Of the three high-purity metal powders (Fe, Nb, and Ag) used in our investigation, Nb was found to be the best metal, which delivered higher carbon beam currents and lower background. Beam currents for targets containing the optimal carbonate mass of 1.5–2.0 mg were ∼8% of those obtained from graphite targets of standard size (>0.5 mg C). Typical measured blank for Carrara marble (IAEA-C1) of ∼40 ka was obtained. Background-corrected 14C values of carbonate targets agreed well with their associated values obtained from high-precision analysis of graphite targets within 2σ uncertainties. Typical precision of this rapid AMS analysis was ∼1% for samples <8 ka. Despite lower precision for carbonate target ages (compared to standard graphite target ages), these ages are useful for palaeobiological applications where a large number of dates are required, such as time-averaging studies.

Conference Paper
© 2019 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


Selected Papers from the 23rd International Radiocarbon Conference, Trondheim, Norway, 17–22 June, 2018


Allen, AP, Kosnik, MA, Kaufman, DS. 2013. Characterizing the dynamics of amino acid racemization using time-dependent reaction kinetics: a Bayesian approach to fitting age-calibration models. Quaternary Geochronology 18:6377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bajo, P, Borsato, A, Drysdale, R, Hua, Q, Frisia, S, Zanchetta, G, Hellstrom, J, Woodhead, J. 2017. Stalagmite carbon isotopes and dead carbon proportion (DCP) in a near-closed-system situation: An interplay between sulphuric and carbonic acid dissolution. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 210:208227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bondevik, S, Mangerud, J, Birks, HH, Gulliksen, S, Reimer, P. 2006. Changes in North Atlantic radiocarbon reservoir ages during the Allerød and Younger Dryas. Science 312:15141517.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bush, SL, Santos, GM, Xu, X, Southon, JR, Hines, SK, Adkins, JF. 2013. Simple, rapid, and cost effective: a screening method for 14C analysis of small carbonate samples. Radiocarbon 55:631640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Child, DP, Hotchkis, MAC, Whittle, K, Zorko, B. 2010. Ionisation efficiency improvements for AMS measurement of actinides. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 268:820823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dominguez, JG, Kosnik, MA, Allen, AP, Hua, Q, Jacob, DE, Kaufman, DS, Whitacre, K. 2016. Time-averaging and stratigraphic resolution in death assemblages and Holocene deposits: Sydney Harbour’s molluscan record. Palaios 31:563574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Druffel, ERM. 1997. Geochemistry of corals: Proxies of past ocean chemistry, ocean circulation and climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 94:83548361.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fink, D, McKelvey, B, Hannan, D, Newsome, D. 2000. Cold rocks, hot sands: In-situ cosmogenic applications in Australia at ANTARES. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 172:838846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fink, D, Hotchkis, M, Hua, Q, Jacobsen, G, Smith, AM, Zoppi, U, Child, D, Mifsud, C, van der Gaast, H, Williams, A, Williams, M. 2004. The ANTARES AMS facility at ANSTO. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 223–224:109115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fohlmeister, J, Kromer, B, Mangini, A. 2011. The influence of soil organic matter age spectrum on the reconstruction of atmospheric 14C levels via stalagmites. Radiocarbon 53:99115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Genty, D, Massault, M. 1999. Carbon transfer dynamics from bomb-14C and δ13C time series of a laminated stalagmite from SW France– Modeling and comparison with other stalagmite records. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 63:15371548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Griffiths, ML, Fohlmeister, J, Drysdale, RN, Hua, Q, Johnson, KR, Hellstrom, JC, Gagan, MK, Zhao, J-X. 2012. Hydrological control on the dead-carbon content of a tropical Holocene speleothem. Quaternary Geochronology 14:8193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grothe, PR, Cobb, KM, Bush, SL, Cheng, H, Santos, GM, Southon, JR, Edwards, RL, Deocampo, DM, Sayani, HR. 2016. A comparison of U/Th and rapid-screen 14C dates from Line Island fossil corals. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 17:833845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grottoli, AG, Eakin, CM. 2006. A review of modern coral δ18O and Δ14C proxy records. Earth-Science Reviews 81:6791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guilderson, TP, Schrag, DP. 1998. Abrupt shift in subsurface temperatures in the tropical Pacific associated with changes in El Niño. Science 281:240243.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hua, Q, Woodroffe, CD, Smithers, SG, Barbetti, M, Fink, D. 2005. Radiocarbon in corals from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and implications for Indian Ocean circulation. Geophysical Research Letters 32:L21602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hua, Q, Webb, GE, Zhao, J-X, Nothdurft, LD, Lybolt, M, Price, GJ, Opdyke, BN. 2015. Large variations in the Holocene marine radiocarbon reservoir effect reflect ocean circulation and climatic changes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 422:3344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hua, Q, Cook, D, Fohlmeister, J, Penny, D, Bishop, P, Buckman, S. 2017. Radiocarbon dating of a speleothem record of palaeoclimate for Angkor, Cambodia. Radiocarbon 59:18731890.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kosnik, MA, Hua, Q, Kaufman, DS, Kowalewski, M, Whitacre, K. 2017. Radiocarbon-calibrated amino acid racemization ages from Holocene sand dollars (Peronella peronii). Quaternary Geochronology 39:174188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lechleitner, FA, Baldini, JUL, Breitenbach, SFM, Fohlmeister, J, McIntyre, C, Goswami, B, Jamieson, RA, van der Voort, TS, Prufer, K, Marwan, N, Culleton, BJ, Kennett, DJ, Asmerom, Y, Polyak, V, Eglinton, TI. 2016. Hydrological and climatological controls on radiocarbon concentrations in a tropical stalagmite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 194:233252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Longworth, BE, Robinson, LF, Roberts, ML, Beaupre, SR, Burke, A, Jenkins, WJ. 2013. Carbonate as sputter target material for rapid 14C AMS. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 294:328334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McGregor, HV, Hellstrom, J, Fink, D, Hua, Q, Woodroffe, CD. 2011. Rapid U-series dating of young fossil corals by laser ablation MC-ICPMS. Quaternary Geochronology 6:195206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Noronha, AL, Johnson, KR, Southon, JR, Hu, C, Ruan, J, McCabe-Glynn, S. 2015. Radiocarbon evidence for decomposition of aged organic matter in the vadose zone as the main source of speleothem carbon. Quaternary Science Reviews 127:3747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rozanski, K, Stichler, W, Gonfiantini, R, Scott, EM, Beukens, RP, Kromer, B, van der Plicht, J. 1992. The IAEA 14C Intercomparison exercise 1990. Radiocarbon 34:506519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, AM, Petrenko, VV, Hua, Q, Southon, J, Brailsford, G. 2007. The effect of N2O, catalyst, and means of water vapor removal on the graphitization of small CO2 samples. Radiocarbon 49:245254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Welte, C, Wacker, L, Hattendorf, B, Christl, M, Fohlmeister, J, Breitenbach, SFM, Robinson, LF, Andrews, AH, Freiwald, A, Farmer, JR, Yeman, C, Synal, H-A, Günther, D. 2016. Laser ablation– accelerator mass spectrometry: An approach for rapid radiocarbon analyses of carbonate archives at high spatial resolution. Analytical Chemistry 88:85708576.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Yu, K, Hua, Q, Zhao, J-X, Hodge, E, Fink, D, Barbetti, M. 2010. Holocene marine 14C reservoir age variability: evidence from 230Th-dated corals from South China Sea. Paleoceanography 25:PA3205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 19
Total number of PDF views: 119 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 15th April 2019 - 17th April 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Direct AMS 14C Analysis of Carbonate
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Direct AMS 14C Analysis of Carbonate
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Direct AMS 14C Analysis of Carbonate
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *