In this paper, we review the production of radiocarbon and other radionuclides in extraterrestrial materials. This radioactivity can be produced by the effects of solar and galactic cosmic rays on solid material in space. In addition, direct implantation at the lunar surface of 14C and other radionuclides can occur. The level of 14C and other radionuclides in a meteorite can be used to determine its residence time on the Earth's surface, or 'terrestrial age'. 14C provides the best tool for estimating terrestrial ages of meteorites collected in desert environments. Age control allows us to understand the time constraints on processes by which meteorites are weathered, as well as mean storage times. Third, we discuss the use of the difference in 14C/12C ratio of organic material and carbonates produced on other planetary objects and terrestrial material. These differences can be used to assess the importance of distinguishing primary material formed on the parent body from secondary alteration of meteoritic material after it lands on the earth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Earth and Planetary Sciences