Radiocarbon calibration curve spanning 0 to 50,000 years BP based on paired Th-230/U-234/U-238 and C-14 dates on pristine corals

Publication Type  Journal Article
Year of Publication  2005
Authors  Fairbanks, R. G.; Mortlock, R. A.; Chiu, T. C.; Cao, L.; Kaplan, A.; Guilderson, T. P.; Fairbanks, T. W.; Bloom, A. L.; Grootes, P. M.; Nadeau, M. J.
Journal Title  Quaternary Science Reviews
Volume  24
Issue  16-17
Pages  1781-1796
Journal Date  Sep
ISBN Number  0277-3791
Accession Number  ISI:000231044100003
Key Words  inductively-coupled plasma; last interglacial period; greenland ice-core; accelerator mass-spectrometry; high-precision calibration; tree-ring chronologies; earths magnetic-field; younger dryas event; labor ams facility; atmospheric radiocarbon

Radiocarbon dating is the most widely used dating technique in the world. Recent advances in Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) and sample preparation techniques have reduced the sample-size requirements by a factor of 1000 and decreased the measurement time from weeks to minutes. Today, it is estimated that more than 90 percent of all measurements made on accelerator mass spectrometers are for radiocarbon age dates. The production of C-14 in the atmosphere varies through time due to changes in the Earth's geomagnetic field intensity and in its concentration, which is regulated by the carbon cycle. As a result of these two variables, a radiocarbon age is not equivalent to a calendar age. Four decades of joint research by the dendrochronology and radiocarbon communities have produced a radiocarbon calibration data set of remarkable precision and accuracy extending from the present to approximately 12,000 calendar years before present. This paper presents high precision paired Th-230/U-234/U-238 and C-14 age determinations on pristine coral samples that enable us to extend the radiocarbon calibration curve from 12,000 to 50,000 years before present. We developed a statistical model to properly estimate sample age conversion from radiocarbon years to calendar years, taking full account of combined errors in input ages and calibration uncertainties. Our radiocarbon calibration program is publicly accessible at: along with full documentation of the samples, data, and our statistical calibration model. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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URL  <Go to ISI>://000231044100003
DOI  DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2005.04.007