A High-Throughput, Low-Cost Method for Analysis of Carbonate Samples for 14C
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The National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (NOSAMS) facility at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has developed an automated system for high-throughput, low-cost analysis of radiocarbon in carbonate samples (e.g. corals, carbonaceous sediments, speleothems, etc.). The method bypasses graphitization and pretreatment, and reduces costs to about 1/5th the price of a graphite-based C-14 carbonate analysis, with a throughput of 60 unknowns per day and an analytical precision of better than 2%. Additionally, a simple mixing experiment indicated that extensive cleaning of carbonate samples to remove organic material is not necessary.