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Modeling Atmospheric 14C Influences and 14C Ages of Marine Samples to 10,000 BC

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Minze Stuiver
Affiliation:
Department of Geological Sciences, Quaternary Research Center, and Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO), University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195 USA
Thomas F. Braziunas
Affiliation:
Department of Geological Sciences, Quaternary Research Center, and Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO), University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195 USA
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The detailed radiocarbon age vs. calibrated (cal) age studies of tree rings reported in this Calibration Issue provide a unique data set for precise 14C age calibration of materials formed in isotopic equilibrium with atmospheric CO2. The situation is more complex for organisms formed in other reservoirs, such as lakes and oceans. Here the initial specific 14C activity may differ from that of the contemporaneous atmosphere. The measured remaining 14C activity of samples formed in such reservoirs not only reflects 14C decay (related to sample age) but also the reservoir 14C activity. As the measured sample 14C activity figures into the calculation of a conventional 14C age (Stuiver & Polach 1977), apparent 14C age differences occur when contemporaneously grown samples of different reservoirs are dated.

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