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For example, archaeologists should now be able to pinpoint more accurately the timing of the extinction of Neanderthals or the spread of modern humans into Europe.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ At the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, Professor Christopher Ramsey with his doctoral student Richard Staff and chemist Dr Fiona Brock worked with two other radiocarbon laboratories (the NERC facility at East Kilbride, Scotland, and Groningen in the Netherlands) on the radiocarbon record from the lake.
However, the complication in the calculation is that the initial amounts of radiocarbon in the environment, which are in turn incorporated into growing organisms, vary slightly from year to year and between different parts of the global carbon cycle.
The radiocarbon in the leaf fossils preserved in the sediment of Lake Suigetsu comes directly from the atmosphere and, as such, is not affected by the processes that can slightly change the radiocarbon levels found in marine sediments or cave formations.
'It also allows us to look at the differences between the atmosphere and oceans, and study the implications for our understanding of the marine environment as part of the global carbon cycle.' _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ To construct a radiocarbon record from Lake Suigetsu, Professor Ramsey and his colleagues measured radiocarbon from terrestrial plant fragments spaced throughout the core.
The research team also counted the light and dark layers throughout the glacial period to place the radiocarbon measurements in time.
The Int Cal record uses data from multiple sources, including marine records, stalagmites and stalactites, and tree rings.
Once the organisms die, the radioactive isotope decays at a known rate, so by measuring the radiocarbon levels remaining in samples today scientists can work out how old things are.'This record will not result in major revisions of dates.But, for example in prehistoric archaeology, there will be small shifts in chronology in the order of hundreds of years,' said Professor Ramsey.The detailed report of the research and its findings* can be found in the October 19, 2012 issue of edition is a selection of the best stories published in Popular Archaeology Magazine in past issues, with an emphasis on some of the most significant, groundbreaking, or fascinating discoveries in the fields of archaeology and paleoanthropology and related fields.The 2012 edition content includes no less than 41 specially selected premium or top quality feature articles and news articles covered over four or more issues.