Skip to main content

Current Performance and Preliminary Results of a New 14C Extraction Line for Meteorites at the University of Bern

  • Marianna Mészáros (a1) (a2), Ingo Leya (a1), Beda A Hofmann (a2) (a3) and Sönke Szidat (a4)

Here, we introduce a new radiocarbon (14C) extraction line operating at the University of Bern, which was designed and built for the extraction of in situ 14C from meteorites. With this system, we achieved two important developments compared to other systems. First, using the MICADAS gas-interface system, 14C can directly be measured from the collected CO2 gas, i.e., without graphitization of the sample. Second, meteorite sample masses as low as ~0.05 g can be used for high precision and reproducibility. Prior to extraction in an oxygen atmosphere held at a pressure of ~20–30 mbar in an iridium crucible at 1600°C for 40 min, samples were preheated for 1 h in a constant oxygen flow at 500°C and continuous pumping. Gas purification followed the method described previously (e.g., Hippe et al. 2009). While the blank levels for preheated samples are low (<2×104 14C atoms), the blanks for non-preheated samples are high, therefore those results cannot be used. We also report preliminary results for the L-chondrite JaH 073. The terrestrial age of 17.7±0.4 ka is in good agreement with previous results for the same sample of this meteorite, confirming that the extraction line, the gas purification system, and the AMS measurements are all reliable.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email:
Hide All
Al-Kathiri A, Hofmann BA, Jull AJT, Gnos E. 2005. Weathering of meteorites from Oman: correlation of chemical and mineralogical weathering proxies with 14C terrestrial ages and the influence of soil chemistry. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 40:12151239.
Bland PA, Smith TB, Jull AJT, Berry FJ, Bevan AWR, Cloudt S, Pillinger CT. 1996. The flux of meteorites to the Earth over the last 50,000 years. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 283:551565.
Bland PA, Sexton AS, Jull AJT, Bevan AWR, Berry FJ, Thornley DM, Astin TR, Britt DT, Pillinger CT. 1998. Climate and rock weathering: a study of terrestrial age dated ordinary chondritic meteorites from hot desert regions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 62:31693184.
Bland PA, Zolensky ME, Benedix GK, Sephton MA. 2006. Weathering of chondritic meteorites. In: Lauretta DS, McSween Jr. HY, editors. Meteorites and the Early Solar System II. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press. p 853867.
Born W, Begemann F. 1975. 14C-39Arme correlations in chondrites and their pre-atmospheric size. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 25:159169.
Chang C, Wänke H. 1969. Beryllium-10 in iron meteorites: They cosmic-ray exposure and terrestrial ages. In: Millmann PM, editor. Meteorite Research. Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Company. p 397406.
Cornish L, Doyle A. 1984. Use of ethanolamine thioglycollate in the conservation of pyritized fossils. Palaeontology 27:421424.
Gnos E, Lorenzetti S, Eugster O, Jull AJT, Hofmann BA, Al-Kathiri A, Eggimann M. 2009. The Jiddat al Harasis 073 strewn field, Sultanate of Oman. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 44:375387.
Gooding JL, Muenow DW. 1977. Experimental vaporization of the Holbrook chondrite. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 12:401408.
Hippe K, Kober F, Baur H, Ruff M, Wacker L, Wieler R. 2009. The current performance of the in situ 14C extraction line at ETH. Quaternary Geochronology 4:493500.
Hippe K, Kober F, Wacker L, Fahrni SM, Ivy-Ochs S, Akçar N, Schlüchter C, Wieler R. 2013. An update on in situ cosmogenic 14C analysis at ETH Zürich. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 294:8186.
Hippe K, Lifton L. 2014. Calculating isotope ratios and nuclide concentrations for in situ cosmogenic 14C analyses. Radiocarbon 56(3):11671174.
Huber L, Gnos E, Hofmann BA, Welten KC, Nishiizumi K, Caffee MW, Hillegonds DJ, Leya I. 2008. The complex exposure history of the Jiddat al Harasis 073 L-chondrite shower. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 43:16911708.
Jarosewich E. 1990. Chemical analyses of meteorites: a compilation of stony and iron meteorite analyses. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 25:323337.
Jull AJT. 2001. Terrestrial ages of meteorites. In: Schmitz B, Peuker-Ehrenbrink B, editors. Accrection of Extraterrestrial Matter throughout Earth’s History. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. p 241266.
Jull AJT. 2006. Terrestrial ages of meteorites. In: Lauretta D, McSween HY Jr, editors. Meteorites and the Early Solar System II. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press. p 889905.
Jull AJT, Donahue J, Linick TW. 1989. 14C activities in recently fallen meteorites and Antarctic meteorites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 53:20952100.
Jull AJT, Wlotzka F, Palme H, Donahue DJ. 1990. Distribution of terrestrial age and petrologic types of meteorites from Western Lybia. Geochimicia et Cosmochimica Acta 54:28952899.
Jull AJT, Wlotzka F, Donahue DJ. 1991. Terrestrial ages and petrologic description of Roosevelt County meteorites (abstract). 22nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. p 667–8.
Jull AJT, Donahue DJ, Cielaszyk E, Wlotzka F. 1993. 14C terrestrial ages and weathering of 27 meteorites from the southern high plains and adjacent areas (USA). Meteoritics and Planetary Science 28:188195.
Jull AJT, McHargue LR, Bland PA, Greenwood RC, Bevan AWR, Kim KJ, LaMotta SE, Johnson JA. 2010. Terrestrial ages of meteorites from the Nullarbor region, Australia, based on 14C and 14C-10Be measurements. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 45:12711283.
Jull AJT, Giscard MD, Hutzler A, Schnitzer CJ, Zahn D, Burr GS, McHargue LR, Hill D. 2013. Radionuclide studies of stony meteorites from hot deserts. Radiocarbon 55(3):17791789.
Leya I, Masarik J. 2009. Cosmogenic nuclides in stony meteorites revisited. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 44:10611086.
Leya I, Lange H-J, Neumann S, Wieler R, Michel R. 2000. The production of cosmogenic nuclides in stony meteoroids by galactic cosmic-ray particles. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 35:259286.
Leya I, Neumann S, Wieler R, Michel R. 2001. The production of cosmogenic nuclides by galactic cosmic-ray particles for 2π exposure geometries. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 36:15471561.
Lee MR, Bland PA. 2004. Mechanisms of weathering of meteorites recovered from hot and cold deserts and the formation of phyllosilicates. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 68:893916.
Lifton NA, Jull AJT, Quade J. 2001. A new extraction technique and production rate estimate for in situ cosmogenic 14C in quartz. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 65:19531969.
Makjanic J, Vis RD, Hovenier JW, Heymann D. 1993. Carbon in the matrices of ordinary chondrites. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 28:6370.
Moore CB, Lewis CF. 1967. Total carbon content of ordinary chondrites. Journal of Geophysical Research 72:62896292.
Nishiizumi K, Caffee MW. 2001. Exposure histories of lunar meteorites Dhofar 025, 026 and Northwest Africa 482 (abstract #5411). 64th Meteoritical Society Meeting.
Nishiizumi K, Okazaki R, Park J, Nagao K, Masarik J, Finkel RC. 2002. Exposure and terrestrial histories of Dhofar 019 Martian meteorite (abstract #1355). 33rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
Pigati JS. 2004. Experimental developments and application of carbon-14 and in situ cosmogenic nuclide dating techniques [PhD thesis]. University of Arizona.
Reedy RC. 1985. A model for GCR-particle fluxes in stony meteorites and production rates of cosmogenic nuclides. Journal of Geophysical Research 90:722728.
Reedy RC, Arnold JR. 1972. Interaction of solar and galactic cosmic-ray particles with the moon. Journal of Geophysical Research 77:537555.
Reimer PJ, Brown TA, Reimer RW. 2004. Discussion: reporting and calibration of post-bomb 14C data. Radiocarbon 46(3):299304.
Ruff M, Wacker L, Gäggeler HW, Suter M, Synal H-A, Szidat S. 2007. A gas ion source for radiocarbon measurements at 200 kV. Radiocarbon 49(2):307314.
Schaefer L, Fegley B Jr. 2007. Outgassing of ordinary chondritic material and some of its implications for the chemistry of asteroids, planets, and satellites. Icarus 186:462483.
Scherer P, Schultz L, Neupert U, Knauer M, Neumann S, Leya I, Michel R, Mokos J, Lipschutz ME, Metzler K, Suter M, Kubik PW. 1997. Allan Hills 88019: an Antarctic H-chondrite with a very long terrestrial age. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 32:769773.
Szidat S, Salazar GA, Vogel E, Battaglia M, Wacker L, Synal HA, Türler A. 2014. 14C analysis and sample preparation at the new Bern Laboratory for the analysis of radiocarbon with AMS (LARA). Radiocarbon 56(2):561566.
Wacker L, Fahrni SM, Hajdas I, Molnar M, Synal HA, Szidat S, Zhang YL. 2013. A versatile gas interface for routine radiocarbon analysis with a gas ion source. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 294:315319.
Wasson JT, Kallemeyn GW. 1988. Composition of chondrites. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London A 325:535544.
Welten KC, Alderliesten C, van der Borg K, Lindner L, Loeken T, Schultz L. 1997. Lewis Cliff 86360: an Antarctic L-chondrite with a terrestrial age of 2.35 million years. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 32:775780.
Welten KC, Nishiizumi K, Hillegonds DJ, Caffee MW. 2006. The complex exposure history of a large L6 chondrite shower from Oman. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 41:A187.
Zurfluh FJ, Hofmann BA, Gnos E, Eggenberger U, Jull AJT. 2016. Weathering of ordinary chondrites from Oman: correlation of weathering parameters with 14C terrestrial ages and a refined weathering scale. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 51:16851700.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0033-8222
  • EISSN: 1945-5755
  • URL: /core/journals/radiocarbon
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 11 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 47 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 16th November 2017 - 12th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.