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A 190‰ drop in atmosphere's Δ14C during the “Mystery Interval” (17.5 to 14.5 kyr)

Broecker, W. and Barker, Stephen ORCID: 2007. A 190‰ drop in atmosphere's Δ14C during the “Mystery Interval” (17.5 to 14.5 kyr). Earth and Planetary Science Letters 256 (1-2) , pp. 90-99. 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.01.015

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Reconstructions of atmospheric Δ14C for the deglacial period reveal a 190 ± 10‰ drop between 17.5 and 14.5 kyr before present, during the ‘mystery interval’. While it appears that the major contributor must be the mixing between an isolated low radiocarbon abyssal reservoir and the remainder of the ocean, a combination of 14C measurements on coexisting benthic and planktic foraminifera shells and 13C/12C measurements on benthic foraminifera make it difficult to identify a sufficiently large volume for this reservoir. An alternative scenario, based on higher 14C production rates between about 38 and 18 kyr ago, would escape the need for a large, isolated reservoir prior to the mystery interval but instead would call for a better ventilated ocean afterwards. The addition of 14C-deficient sedimentary carbon appears not to be an important contributor. While the unlikely explanation that the half-life of 14C is 15% greater than the accepted value (5730 yr) would eliminate the steady decrease in the 14C/C over the last 40 kyr, it would not explain the steep drop which occurred between 17.5 and 14.5 kyr.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Q Science > QE Geology
Uncontrolled Keywords: atmospheric radiocarbon; deep ocean ventilation
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0012-821X
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 12:46

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