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Low-Temperature and Temperature Stepped-Combustion of Terrace Sediments from Nanfu, Taiwan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

Shing-Lin Wang*
Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
George S Burr
Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan NSF-Arizona AMS Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Yue-Gau Chen
Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Yin Lin
Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Tzu-Shuan Wu
Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
2Corresponding author. Email:


We discuss a radiocarbon study of sediment samples collected from Nanfu terrace in western Taiwan. From these, we extracted humic acids (HA) and humin from the very fine and coarse grain-size fractions using a standard acid-alkali-acid pretreatment. The humin extracts were combusted at 400 and 1100 °C by stepped-combustion, to yield a low-temperature (LT) carbon component and a high-temperature (HT) carbon component. We compare the ages of the LT and HT humin fractions to the HA fractions, in samples collected at 2 depths within the Nanfu terrace. As in previous stepped-combustion studies on sediments, we find that the HA ages are the youngest on average, and overlap the LT ages, and that the carbon contained in the HT fraction is always distinctly older than the LT and HA ages. To better understand the relationship between 14C age and combustion temperature, we conducted an incremental stepped-combustion experiment with one of the samples (1E) using 50 °C steps that ranged from 300 to 1100 °C. The 14C results of the stepped-combustion products show a clear division between 2 isotopically identifiable carbon constituents, from carbon released below 400 °C and carbon released above 550 °C. By comparing the δ13C and 14C results, we find evidence for a third carbon isotopic component in the humin that is released when combusted at ∼500 °C.

Copyright © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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