Tag Archives: radiocarbon dating

A lab with a magnetism all its own

Ariana Fernandez and her magnetometer have a terrific view of Peru.

Admittedly, it’s no postcard image. Fernandez, a senior majoring in archaeological studies, goes in more for soil samples than scenic vistas. Yet with her bits of burnt earth and some world-class technology, she sees South America’s past, present, and geophysical future in stunning detail. (more…)

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Ancient water

Delaware Geological Survey carbon-dates groundwater found to be thousands of years old

A drop of rain that falls near Middletown, Del., may take as long as 14,000 years to seep through the earth and trickle underground into a well several miles away, according to new research by the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS). 

Scientists used radiocarbon-dating techniques to determine the age of groundwater from sites in southern New Castle and Kent counties.  (more…)

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Woolly Mammoth Extinction Has Lessons for Modern Climate Change

Although humans and woolly mammoths co-existed for millennia, the shaggy giants disappeared from the globe between 4,000 and 10,000 years ago, and scientists couldn’t explain until recently exactly how the Flintstonian behemoths went extinct.

In a paper published June 12 in the journal Nature Communications, UCLA researchers and colleagues reveal that not long after the last ice age, the last woolly mammoths succumbed to a lethal combination of climate warming, encroaching humans and habitat change — the same threats facing many species today. (more…)

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New UF Study Shows Early North Americans Lived With Extinct Giant Beasts

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new University of Florida study that determined the age of skeletal remains provides evidence humans reached the Western Hemisphere during the last ice age and lived alongside giant extinct mammals.

The study published online today (May 3, 2012) in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology addresses the century-long debate among scientists about whether human and mammal remains found at Vero Beach in the early 1900s date to the same time period. Using rare earth element analysis to measure the concentration of naturally occurring metals absorbed during fossilization, researchers show modern humans in North America co-existed with large extinct mammals about 13,000 years ago, including mammoths, mastodons and giant ground sloths. (more…)

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Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels at End of Last Ice Age Not Tied to Pacific Ocean, As Had Been Suspected

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— After the last ice age peaked about 18,000 years ago, levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide rose about 30 percent. Scientists believe that the additional carbon dioxide—a heat-trapping greenhouse gas—played a key role in warming the planet and melting the continental ice sheets. They have long hypothesized that the source of the gas was the deep ocean.

But a new study by a University of Michigan paleoclimatologist and two colleagues suggests that the deep ocean was not an important source of carbon during glacial times. The finding will force researchers to reassess their ideas about the fundamental mechanisms that regulate atmospheric carbon dioxide over long time scales. (more…)

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UF Study Shows Tundra Fires Could Accelerate Climate Warming

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — After a 10,000-year absence, wildfires have returned to the Arctic tundra, and a University of Florida study shows that their impact could extend far beyond the areas blackened by flames.

In a study published in the July 28 issue of the journal Nature, UF ecologist Michelle Mack and a team of scientists including fellow UF ecologist Ted Schuur quantified the amount of soil-bound carbon released into the atmosphere in the 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire, which covered more than 400 square miles on the North Slope of Alaska’s Brooks Range. The 2.1 million metric tons of carbon released in the fire — roughly twice the amount of greenhouse gases put out by the city of Miami in a year — is significant enough to suggest that Arctic fires could impact the global climate, said Mack, an associate professor of ecosystem ecology in UF’s department of biology. (more…)

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MU Archeologist Finds Oldest 3-D Statue In Western Hemisphere

*Statue at temple in Peru helps us understand ancient culture, myths*

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A University of Missouri archeologist has found a 4,000-year-old statue in Peru that gives new insight into an ancient agricultural society.

Robert Benfer, a professor emeritus of anthropology, said the mud plaster bust – a bust of a figure blowing a trumpet and another mask-like image flanked by foxes – was found at the “Buena Vista” site in the Andes Mountains, about 30 miles north of Lima, Peru. Radiocarbon dating indicates the bust was created around 2,000 B.C, making it the oldest 3-D statue found in the Americas. (more…)

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