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The Use of Natural and Anthropogenic 14C to Investigate the Dynamics of Soil Organic Carbon

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Bernard John O'Brien
Affiliation:
Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Private Bag, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
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Abstract

Radiocarbon has been measured in two soil profiles, one of which has been covered by a building since 1956. A comparison of the Δ14C values in horizons of each profile gives an estimate of the total input of atom bomb 14C into the soil profile. From the Δ14C and carbon density profile data, the carbon input rates, respiration rates, and diffusivity are calculated. The lack of vegetation on one soil affects the mobility and the respiration rate of the soil carbon in that soil. The data from this soil profile are also used to check the assumption, used in previous analyses, that there is a uniform distribution of ‘old’ carbon down the soil profile. The input rate, turnover time, and diffusivity parameters determined from the Δ14C profiles in these soils are compared with other published data on pasture and forest soils.

Type
III. The Carbon Cycle
Copyright
Copyright © The American Journal of Science 

References

O'Brien, B J, 1984, Soil organic carbon fluxes and turnover rates estimated from radiocarbon enrichments: Soil Biol & Biochem, v 16, p 115120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Brien, B J and Stout, J D, 1978, Movement and turnover of soil organic matter as indicated by carbon isotopic measurements: Soil Biol & Biochem, v 10, p 309317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rafter, T A, 1965, Carbon-14 variations in nature, Part 2, Increase in 14C activity in the atmosphere of the southern hemisphere from the testing of nuclear weapons: New Zealand Jour Sci, v 8, p 472493.Google Scholar
Rafter, T A and Stout, J D, 1970, Radiocarbon measurements as an index of the rate of turnover of organic matter in forest and grassland ecosystems in New Zealand, in Olsson, I U, ed, Radiocarbon variations and absolute chronology, Nobel symposium, 7th, Proc: Stockholm, Almqvist, p 401418.Google Scholar
Scharpenseel, H W, 1973, Natural radiocarbon measurements on soil organic matter fractions and on soil profiles of different pedogenesis, in Rafter, T A and Grant-Taylor, T, eds, Internatl radiocarbon dating conf, 8th, Proc: Wellington, Royal Soc New Zealand, v 2, p E1E12.Google Scholar
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