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World -Wide Distriution Of Radiocabon

FUNDAMENTAL to the radiocarbon dating method is the F question of the contemporary assay of the exchange reservoir for radiocarbon and the uniformity over the earth’s surface of this assay.¹

Organic material, principally wood, was collected from widely scattered points over the earth’s surface, and measurements of the specific radioactivity were made.

One group of samples was concentrated near the geomagnetic equator, where the neutron flux is at a minimum; another in high latitudes, where the neutron flux is at a maximum.

The variation in neutron intensity with latitude, as observed by Simpson at 30,000.

Feet, is presented in Figure 2.2 Some consideration was given to the archeological importance of the region with the thought that, if no uniformity were demonstrated, these data might be utilized in age measurements where the original assay would vary from region to region.

Fortunately, this has not proved to be necessary. Owing to the known extreme variation of neutron intensity with altitude, shown in Figure 3, in which the data of Yuan and Ladenburg taken at Princeton, New Jersey,3 are given, two samples from high altitudes were measured.

It might be suspected that the specific radioactivity would be higher at higher altitudes.

However, the height of the timberline was of course very small indeed compared with the 30,000-foot altitude at which the principal radiocarbon production occurs.

The experimental results are given in Tables 2 and 3, in which the type of sample, the donor, the geomagnetic latitude, and the observed specific radioactivity in absolute disintegrations per minute.

AuthorWillard Libby
Language English
No. of Pages138
PDF Size9.8 MB

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