Terrestrial carbonates encompass a wide range of materials that potentially could be used for radiocarbon (14C) dating. Biogenic carbonates, including shells and tests of terrestrial and aquatic gastropods, bivalves, ostracodes, and foraminifera, are preserved in a variety of late Quaternary deposits and may be suitable for 14C dating. Primary calcareous deposits (marls, tufa, speleothems) and secondary carbonates (rhizoliths, fracture fill, soil carbonate) may also be targeted for dating when conditions are favorable. This chapter discusses issues that are commonly encountered in 14C dating of terrestrial carbonates, including isotopic disequilibrium and open-system behavior, as well as methods used to determine the reliability of ages derived from these materials. Recent methodological advancements that may improve the accuracy and precision of 14C ages of terrestrial carbonates are also highlighted.
Additional publication details
Radiocarbon dating of terrestrial carbonates
Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center