The University of Arizona

Pre-Bomb Surface Water Radiocarbon of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean as Recorded in Hermatypic Corals

Amy J Wagner, Thomas P Guilderson, Niall C Slowey, Julia E Cole


Radiocarbon measurements of hermatypic corals from 4 sites in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and Caribbean Sea were made to estimate the marine 14C reservoir age (R) and the marine regional correction (ΔR) for this region. Coral skeletal material from the Flower Garden Banks (northern GOM continental shelf), Veracruz, Mexico, and 2 reefs from the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela, were analyzed. Annual and subannual samples from 1945-1955 were milled and 14C composition was determined. In the Gulf of Mexico, average coral Δ14C is -52.6 ± 0.7‰ and average Δ14C for the Cariaco Basin corals is -53.4 ± 0.8‰. Average values for the marine reservoir age and ΔR are computed with this data and compared with results derived from previous measurements made in the same regions. These values are important in calibrating the 14C ages of carbonate samples from the area.

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