Accuracy and precision in radiocarbon dating

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Since peat is a complex and heterogeneous matrix, we tried to characterize this uncertainty on our 14C dates by experimenting with pre-treatment procedures on peat sampled from a high elevation site in southern India, where reliable and continuous records of paleoenvironments are scarce.

Dated to ∼40 kyr, the Sandynallah peat accumulation in valleys 2000 m asl in the Nilgiris, Western Ghats, remains an important source of paleoenvironmental information.

Recently, our group has carried out radiocarbon dating on samples of which the actual dates are approximately known.

These samples were sent out for radiocarbon dating several times for a consistency check to confirm consistency of results.

ABSTRACT: Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) traces isotopically labeled biochemicals and provides significant new directions for understanding molecular kinetics and dynamics in biological systems.

AMS traces low-abundance radioisotopes for high specificity but detects them with MS for high sensitivity.

AMS is available from several facilities that offer services and new spectrometers that are affordable.

Detailed examples of designing AMS studies are provided, and the methods of analyzing AMS data are outlined.

Please visit for instructions and more information.ABSTRACT: Though not typically regarded as “biomarkers” in the traditional sense of the word, the radioactive and stable isotopes of carbon (14C and 13C, respectively) can serve as powerful tools for identifying sources and estimating turnover times of organic matter in aquatic systems.Paired 14C and 13C measurements of carbon pools can provide an additional degree of specificity for studies of organic matter cycling as a result of: (1) the lower susceptibility of natural isotopes to diagenetic effects that can alter organic biomolecules; (2) the “dual” isotopic nature of the approach; (3) the unique input functions for each isotope; and (4) the greater dynamic range in Δ14C (−1000 to ∼ 200‰) compared to δ13C (∼−32 to −12‰).On the Precision and Accuracy of Radiocarbon Dating.Jaehoon Hwang, Chuntaek Seong, Jaeyong Lee, Jangsuk Kim, Seonho Choi.

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