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Speed Dating: A Rapid Way to Determine the Radiocarbon Age of Wood by EA-AMS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 September 2016

Adam Sookdeo
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH-Zürich, Physics, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, Zürich 8093 Switzerland Carbon Cycle Biogeoscience, ETH-Zurich, Earth Sciences, Zürich, Switzerland
Lukas Wacker
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH-Zürich, Physics, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, Zürich 8093 Switzerland
Simon Fahrni
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH-Zürich, Physics, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, Zürich 8093 Switzerland
Cameron P McIntyre
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH-Zürich, Physics, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, Zürich 8093 Switzerland Carbon Cycle Biogeoscience, ETH-Zurich, Earth Sciences, Zürich, Switzerland
Michael Friedrich
Affiliation:
Heidelberg University, Envrionmental Physics, Heidelberg, Germany Universitat Hohenheim, Botany, Stuttgart., Baden-Wurttemborg, Germany
Frederick Reinig
Affiliation:
Swiss Federal Research Institution WSL, Dendroecology, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Daniel Nievergelt
Affiliation:
Swiss Federal Research Institution WSL, Dendroecology, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Willy Tegel
Affiliation:
Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, Chair of Forest Growth and Dendroecology, Freiburg, Germany
Bernd Kromer
Affiliation:
Heidelberg University, Envrionmental Physics, Heidelberg, Germany
Ulf Büntgen
Affiliation:
Swiss Federal Research Institution WSL, Dendroecology, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Radiocarbon measurements in tree rings can be used to estimate atmospheric 14C concentration and thereby used to create a 14C calibration curve. When wood is discovered in construction sites, rivers, buildings, and lake sediments, it is unclear if the wood could fill gaps in the 14C calibration curve or if the wood is of historical interest until the age is determined by dendrochronology or 14C dating. However, dendrochronological dating is subjected to many requirements and 14C dating is costly and time consuming, both of which can be frivolous endeavors if the samples are not in the age range of interest. A simplified 14C dating technique, called Speed Dating, was thus developed. It can be used to quickly obtain 14C ages as wood samples are neither chemically treated nor graphitized. Instead, wood is combusted in an elemental analyzer (EA) and the CO2 produced is carried into an accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) with a gas ion source. Within a day, 75 samples can be measured with uncertainties between 0.5–2% depending on the age, preservation, and contaminants on the material and Speed Dating costs about one-third of conventional AMS dates.

Type
Advances in Physical Measurement Techniques
Copyright
© 2016 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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Footnotes

Selected Papers from the 2015 Radiocarbon Conference, Dakar, Senegal, 16–20 November 2015

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