Cosmogenic in Situ Radiocarbon on the Earth

  • Devendra Lal


Radiocarbon is continuously produced on the Earth by nuclear interactions of cosmic rays in the Earth’s atmosphere, and because of its dynamic circulation in the carbon reservoirs, it finds applications in diverse branches of science (Libby 1946, 1967). The scope of applications of natural radiocarbon has widened considerably in the last decade with the advent of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). This technique allows a high-precision measurement of 106–107 atoms 14C, thereby allowing its measurement in samples of ~ 0.1 mg carbon from the dynamic reservoirs. This advance makes it possible, for example, to date bones by measuring 14C in proteins (Hedges & Law 1989) and in individual species of planktonic and benthic calcareous shells deposited in the sediments (Andrée et al 1986).


Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Cosmic Radiation Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Thermal Neutron Capture Cosmogenic Nuclide 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

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  • Devendra Lal

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