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Science. 1998 Feb 20;279(5354):1187-90.

Atmospheric radiocarbon calibration to 45,000 yr B.P.: late glacial fluctuations and cosmogenic isotope production

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H. Kitagawa, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, 3-2, Goryo Oeyama-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, 610-1192 Japan. J. van der Plicht, Centre for Isotope Research, Nijenborgh 4, 9747AG Groningen, Netherlands.


More than 250 carbon-14 accelerator mass spectrometry dates of terrestrial macrofossils from annually laminated sediments from Lake Suigetsu (Japan) provide a first atmospheric calibration for almost the total range of the radiocarbon method (45,000 years before the present). The results confirm the (recently revised) floating German pine chronology and are consistent with data from European and marine varved sediments, and combined uranium-thorium and carbon-14 dating of corals up to the Last Glacial Maximum. The data during the Glacial show large fluctuations in the atmospheric carbon-14 content, related to changes in global environment and in cosmogenic isotope production.

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