Calcium-41 Concentration in Terrestrial Materials: Prospects for Dating of Pleistocene Samples

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Science  08 May 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4802, pp. 725-727
DOI: 10.1126/science.236.4802.725


Calcium-41 has been suggested as a new tool for radiometric dating in the range of 105 to 106 years. The concentration of cosmogenic calcium-41 in natural samples of terrestrial origin has now been determined by high-sensitivity accelerator mass spectrometry after pre-enrichment in calcium-41 with an isotope separator. Ratios of calcium-41 to total calcium between 2 x 10-14 and 3 x 10-15 were measured for samples of contemporary bovine bone and from limestone deposits. Some prospects for the use of calcium-41 for dating Middle and Late Pleistocene bone and for other geophysical applications are discussed.