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The reliability of AMS radiocarbon dating of shells from China.

Weijian Zhou, M J Head, Fubao Wang, D J Donahue, A J T Jull


We tested the feasibility of dating freshwater and terrestrial molluscs from the semiarid and arid zone in China, since these types of shell material deposit only aragonite to form their shell structure, and shell integrity can be easily observed using X-ray diffraction. We also tested the possibility of estimating microenvironmental changes from shell delta (super 13) C values, but variations within shell populations preclude the use of these values as a reliable indicator. Reservoir ages were calculated for living shells of the same species as fossil shells by using their measured (super 14) C ages, which were recalculated using an average value of atmospheric (super 14) C activity for the years spanning their time of collection as the modern standard. The results indicate that freshwater and terrestrial shells are potentially useful as dating material, provided extreme care is taken in their collection and other datable material (in this case wood and pollen) is within the profile to act as a comparison.


Ang Ren Lake;Xizang China;China;mass spectra;spectra;isotope ratios;Holocene;Far East;Asia;Cenozoic;Quaternary;C 14;carbon;dates;isotopes;radioactive isotopes;shells;Invertebrata;Mollusca;C 13 C 12;stable isotopes;absolute age;carbonates;aragonite

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