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Title: Radioactive carbon in environmental science
Authors: Dodson, JR
Keywords: Carbon
Issue Date: 12-Jan-2017
Citation: Dodson, J. (2015). Chapter 9 : Radioactive carbon in environmental science. In K. Grice (ed.) Principles and Practice of Analytical Techniques in Geosciences (pp. 271-284). Cambridge, UK: The Royal Society of Chemistry.
Abstract: Carbon is a very abundant element in biological and earth materials and it is widely distributed in the atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere, and in soil and rock systems. The isotope 14C is unstable and decays at a known rate. Plants absorb some of the trace 14CO2 during photosynthesis, with this passing through the biosphere through eating relationships; most plants and animals are therefore in approximate equilibrium with atmospheric 14CO2. Once the living organism dies, the gradually declining 14C provides the basis for a chronometer to calculate the time since death. Improvements in the technique have been made through better understanding of the carbon cycle, cosmogenic flux rates, and the dynamics of Earth systems; improvements in measurement technology; calibration of the radiocarbon time scale and quantification of reservoir effects; and a reduction in sample size requirements. Radiocarbon dating techniques have been applied to sediment sequences to provide chronologies for proxy analyses of climate and environmental changes; to understand the spatial and temporal variability of fires and their impact on the ecology of vegetation systems; to date groundwater systems and investigate recharge rates; and to provide an accurate chronology for ancient societies and their activities. © 2015, The Royal Society of Chemistry.
Gov't Doc #: 7767
ISSN: 978-1-78262-502-5
Appears in Collections:Book Chapters

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