Comparing direct carbonate and standard graphite 14C determinations of biogenic carbonates

Jordon Bright*, Chris Ebert, Matthew A. Kosnik, John R. Southon, Katherine Whitacre, Paolo G. Albano, Carola Flores, Thomas K. Frazer, Quan Hua, Michal Kowalewski, Julieta C. Martinelli, David Oakley, Wesley G. Parker, Michael Retelle, Matias do Nascimento Ritter, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, Daniele Scarponi, Yurena Yanes, Martin Zuschin, Darrell S. Kaufman

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    The direct carbonate procedure for accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) dating of submilligram samples of biogenic carbonate without graphitization is becoming widely used in a variety of studies. We compare the results of 153 paired direct carbonate and standard graphite 14C determinations on single specimens of an assortment of biogenic carbonates. A reduced major axis regression shows a strong relationship between direct carbonate and graphite percent Modern Carbon (pMC) values (m = 0.996; 95% CI [0.991-1.001]). An analysis of differences and a 95% confidence interval on pMC values reveals that there is no significant difference between direct carbonate and graphite pMC values for 76% of analyzed specimens, although variation in direct carbonate pMC is underestimated. The difference between the two methods is typically within 2 pMC, with 61% of direct carbonate pMC measurements being higher than their paired graphite counterpart. Of the 36 specimens that did yield significant differences, all but three missed the 95% significance threshold by 1.2 pMC or less. These results show that direct carbonate 14C dating of biogenic carbonates is a cost-effective and efficient complement to standard graphite 14C dating.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)387-403
    Number of pages17
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


    • biogenic carbonate
    • direct carbonate 14C AMS
    • standard graphite 14C AMS


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