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We constructed a laser ablation (LA) system using a diode laser for the accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) measurement of organic materials. The system could extract adequate CO2 to analyze small masses (0.1 mg C) at a resolution of 250 µm by a 5.5 W diode laser. The LA system was assessed using standard materials (IAEA-C1, IAEA-C2, IAEA-C3, IAEA-C6, and Ox II) and applied to natural tree ring samples. For the LA sampling of organic samples, which generally results in incomplete combustion, tungsten (VI) oxide was used as an oxidant to achieve complete burning. The results of the measurement of standard materials showed a low 14C background of F14C 0.0085 ± 0.0005 and reasonable reproduction of 14C values. Finally, we applied this system to a single-year analysis of tree-ringed spruce timber in Alaska. It was observed to have a detectable background for the 14C bomb peak.
We have conducted radiocarbon (14C) dating of Japanese tree rings from 1053 to 921 BCE and 41 BCE to 130 CE. Dating was also performed using oxygen isotope dendrochronology to investigate subtle structures of the calibration curve corresponding to the beginning and the end of the Yayoi period in Japan. These two results followed IntCal20, which included the 14C ages of two Japan-sourced trees. The findings suggest that dating of specimens obtained from areas around the Japanese archipelago may be affected by periodic monsoons from the ocean, an effect that needs further examination.
Regional offsets from Northern Hemisphere radiocarbon (14C) calibration curves are widely recognized for monsoon Asia and often hinder accurate 14C dating. In this paper, we explore the possible linkage between summer monsoon intensity and 14C offsets using tree-ring δ18O and 14C data from Thailand. We developed a 297-yr floating tree-ring δ18O chronology comprising seven teak log-coffin samples from the Ban Rai rock shelter site, northwestern Thailand. The outermost ring of our chronology was estimated to date from 358–383 CE, within a 95.4% (2σ) probability range, based on a total of 10 14C measurements that were wiggle-matched against a mixed calibration curve evenly weighted from the IntCal20 and SHCal20 curves. Backward trajectory analysis showed that an intensified (weakened) summer monsoon detected in a modern tree-ring δ18O chronology was most likely to be induced by increased (decreased) air mass transport from the tropical Indian Ocean, which is an area of intense upwelling where the 14C concentration is lower than the atmospheric 14C level. However, partly because of the limited sample size and dating uncertainty, the direct linkage between the tree-ring δ18O series and 14C records obtained from our teak log-coffin samples could not be statistically verified.
Proxy-based observations of solar activity in the past have revealed long-term variations, such as the Gleissberg cycle (~88 yr), de Vries cycle (~200 yr), and the Hallstatt cycle (~2000 yr). Such long-term variations of solar activity sometimes cause the disappearance of sunspots for several decades. Currently, solar activity is becoming weaker, and there is a possibility that another long-term sunspot minimum could occur. However, the detailed mechanism of the weakening in solar activity is unknown, and the prediction of solar activity is ambiguous. In this study, we investigate the transitions of solar cycle length before the onset of the Spoerer Minimum, the longest grand minimum in the past 2000 yr. We measured the 14C content in an asunaro tree (Thujopsis dolabrata) excavated at Shimokita Peninsula from 1368–1420 CE using the compact AMS system at Yamagata University. It is found that the solar cycle lengthened to be 14–16 yr from 2 cycles before the onset of the Spoerer Minimum.
This study carried out accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) measurement of Japanese tree rings dating from the middle to early modern eras to investigate calibration curve fine structure. Tree-ring ages were determined by dendrochronology or δ18O chronology for Japanese trees. 14C ages from the 15th century to the middle of the 17th century followed the IntCal13 calibration curve within measurement error. Different patterns of fluctuations during the latter half of the 17th century to the early the 18th century were observed in different tree samples. In the 19th century, patterns of 14C ages of different samples appeared similar but did not exactly match each other.
The so-called Millennium Eruption of Baitoushan Volcano is one of the largest of the Common Era but its date has been uncertain. Recently, Oppenheimer et al. (2017) reported the eruptive year as late AD 946 using a new method called carbon-14 spike matching. However, it is necessary to verify their result to confirm the eruptive year, since only one wood sample was used in their study. We verified the eruptive year by measuring 14C contents in tree rings from another wood sample buried during the Baitoushan eruption. We succeeded in reproducing the AD 774–775 14C spike (Miyake et al. 2012), and counted the number of rings from the outermost ring accompanied by bark to the ring possessing the AD 774–775 14C spike. We found the outermost ring was formed in AD 946. Our study supported the result of Oppenheimer et al. (2017), which makes the eruptive year conclusive. Also, we suggest that the 14C spike-matching method can be a prominent dating tool applicable to ancient woods that are difficult to date using the usual dendrochronology techniques.
Two radiocarbon excursions (AD 774–775 and AD 993–994) occurred due to an increase of incoming cosmic rays on a short timescale. The most plausible cause of these events is considered to be extreme solar proton events (SPE). It is possible that there are other annual 14C excursions in the past that have yet to be confirmed. In order to detect more of these events, we measured the 14C contents in bristlecone pine tree-ring samples during the periods when the rate of 14C increase in the IntCal data is large. We analyzed four periods every other year (2479–2455 BC, 4055–4031 BC, 4465–4441 BC, and 4689–4681 BC), and found no anomalous 14C excursions during these periods. This study confirms that it is important to do continuous measurements to find annual cosmic-ray events at other locations in the tree-ring record.
A rapid yearly increase in the radiocarbon content has been detected for the period from AD 993 to 994. However, this event is supported by the 14C measurements of only one cedar tree sample, and verification is necessary to confirm this event more reliably. For this purpose, this study measured the 14C content in Japanese Hinoki tree rings corresponding to the period from AD 988 to 997 using the accelerator mass spectrometry system at Yamagata University (YU-AMS). The result shows a significant 14C increase from AD 993 to 994, and is consistent with the previously measured data for the Japanese cedar tree. This marks the second case detecting an increased 14C level corresponding to the AD 994 event.
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