Studies of the production rate of cosmic-ray produced 14C in rock surfaces

A. J.T. lull, N. Lifton, W. M. Phillips, J. Quade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We have developed a method of extracting 14C in rock samples which is produced by the direct spallation of oxygen in the rock. The low levels of 14C produced in rocks, approximately 106 atoms/g of rock at an altitude of 2000 m, are detectable only by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). This radioisotope can be extracted from the rock by melting in an rf furnace in a flow of oxygen, and earlier work has discussed this in some detail. Several improvements have been made to this system, allowing for processing of up to 100 g of rock sample at one time, and reduction of the blank. Our measurements from Tabernacle Hill, Utah, an intermediate-altitude basalt with well-constrained conventional 14C ages, yield an estimated cosmogenic 14C production rate of about 50 14C atoms/g/yr. When corrected to sea level we obtain a value of 20 ± 2 14C/g/yr for high-latitude samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-310
Number of pages3
JournalNuclear Inst. and Methods in Physics Research, B
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Jun 3 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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