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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.

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