The University of Arizona
Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Radiocarbon dating of total soil organic matter and humin fraction and its comparison with (super 14) C ages of fossil charcoal.

L R Pessenda, S M Gouveia, R Aravena


During the last decade radiocarbon dating has been used extensively in distinct regions of Brazil to provide information about soil chronology in paleoenvironmental studies. This paper presents (super 14) C dating of soil organic matter (SOM), humin fraction, and charcoal in several soil profiles under natural vegetation from different Brazil locations (north, central, and southeast regions). The main objective is to compare the obtained (super 14) C dating of total SOM with humin, the oldest fraction of SOM. In order to validate the humin ages these data are compared with the age of charcoal collected at similar depths. The (super 14) C ages obtained on charcoal were, in most of the cases, in agreement with the humin fraction considering the experimental errors, or 20% older in average. The dates obtained from total SOM showed significantly younger ages than the humin fraction indicating contamination by younger carbon. These results show the humin fraction is considered a reliable material for (super 14) C dating in soils. However, the humin fraction ages could be assumed as the minimum ages for carbon in soils.


Brazil;South America;organic acids;Parana Brazil;humic acids;Sao Paulo Brazil;Holocene;correlation;soils;organic compounds;Cenozoic;charcoal;Quaternary;C 14;carbon;dates;isotopes;radioactive isotopes;absolute age

Full Text: