Gagnon Alan R.

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Alan R.

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  • Article
    Comparison of large and ultra-small Δ14C measurements in core top benthic foraminifera from the Okhotsk Sea
    (University of Arizona Libraries, 2015) Keigwin, Lloyd D. ; Gagnon, Alan R.
    The radiocarbon activity of benthic foraminifera was investigated in surface sediments from a high deposition rate location at a depth of 1000 m in the Okhotsk Sea. Sediments were preserved and stained with Rose Bengal to identify foraminifera that contain cytoplasm. The benthic fauna at this site is dominated by large specimens of Uvigerina peregrina, and bulk samples (~150 individuals) of stained and unstained specimens were dated. The stained sample was about 240 14C yr younger than the unstained, and the presence of bomb 14C is inferred by comparison to water column data in the nearby open North Pacific. Using new methods, multiple measurements were also made on samples of three stained and unstained individuals (as small as 7 µg C). Results are consistent with those from the bulk samples. This suggests that similar ultra-small measurements could be made at other locations to reveal the age distribution of individuals in a sediment sample in order to assess the extent of bioturbation and the presence of bomb 14C contamination.
  • Article
    Thallium isotopes reveal brine activity during carbonatite magmatism
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-01-27) Horton, Forrest ; Nielsen, Sune G. ; Shu, Yunchao ; Gagnon, Alan R. ; Blusztajn, Jerzy S.
    Carbonatite volcanism remains poorly understood compared to silicic volcanism due to the scarcity of carbonatite volcanoes worldwide and because volcanic H2O and CO2—major components in carbonatite volcanic systems—are not well preserved in the rock record. To further our understanding of carbonatite genesis, we utilize the non-traditional thallium (Tl) isotope system in Khanneshin carbonatites in Afghanistan. These carbonatites contain 250–30,000 ng/g Tl and have ε205Tl values (−4.6 to +4.6) that span much of the terrestrial igneous range. We observe that δ18OVSMOW (+8.6‰ to +23.5‰) correlates positively with δ13CVPDB (−4.6‰ to +3.5‰) and ε205Tl up to δ18O = 15‰. Rayleigh fractionation of calcite from an immiscible CO2-H2O fluid with a mantle-like starting composition can explain the δ18O and δ13C—but not ε205Tl—trends. Biotite fractionates Tl isotopes in other magmatic settings, so we hypothesize that a Tl-rich hydrous brine caused potassic metasomatism (i.e., biotite fenitization) of wall rock that increased the ε205Tl of the residual magma-fluid reservoir. Our results imply that, in carbonatitic volcanic systems, simultaneous igneous differentiation and potassic metasomatism increase ε205Tl, δ18O, δ13C, and light rare earth element concentrations in residual fluids. Our fractionation models suggest that the Tl isotopic compositions of the primary magmas were among the isotopically lightest (less than or equal to ε205Tl = −4.6) material derived from the mantle for which Tl isotopic constraints exist. If so, the ultimate source of Tl in Khanneshin lavas—and perhaps carbonatites elsewhere—may be recycled ocean crust.
  • Preprint
    Assessing the blank carbon contribution, isotope mass balance, and kinetic isotope fractionation of the Ramped Pyrolysis/Oxidation instrument at NOSAMS
    ( 2017-03) Hemingway, Jordon D. ; Galy, Valier ; Gagnon, Alan R. ; Grant, Katherine E. ; Rosengard, Sarah Z. ; Soulet, Guillaume ; Zigah, Prosper ; McNichol, Ann P.
    We estimate the blank carbon mass over the course of a typical Ramped PyrOx (RPO) analysis (150 to 1000 °C; 5 °C×min-1) to be (3.7 ± 0.6) μg C with an Fm value of 0.555 ± 0.042 and a δ13C value of (-29.0 ± 0.1) ‰ VPDB. Additionally, we provide equations for RPO Fm and δ13C blank corrections, including associated error propagation. By comparing RPO mass-weighted mean and independently measured bulk δ13C values for a compilation of environmental samples and standard reference materials (SRMs), we observe a small yet consistent 13C depletion within the RPO instrument (mean – bulk: μ = -0.8 ‰; ±1σ = 0.9 ‰; n = 66). In contrast, because they are fractionation-corrected by definition, mass-weighted mean Fm values accurately match bulk measurements (mean – bulk: μ = 0.005; ±1σ = 0.014; n = 36). Lastly, we show there exists no significant intra-sample δ13C variability across carbonate SRM peaks, indicating minimal mass-dependent kinetic isotope fractionation during RPO analysis. These data are best explained by a difference in activation energy between 13C- and 12C-containing compounds (13–12ΔE) of 0.3 to 1.8 J×mol-1, indicating that blank and mass-balance corrected RPO δ13C values accurately retain carbon source isotope signals to within 1 to 2‰.
  • Article
    Rapid extraction of dissolved inorganic carbon from seawater and groundwater samples for radiocarbon dating
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-10-29) Gospodinova, Kalina D. ; McNichol, Ann P. ; Gagnon, Alan R. ; Shah Walter, Sunita R.
    We designed and developed a system to efficiently extract dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) from seawater and groundwater samples for radiocarbon dating. The Rapid Extraction of Dissolved Inorganic Carbon System (REDICS) utilizes a gas-permeable polymer membrane contactor to extract the DIC from an acidified water sample in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2), introduce it to a helium gas stream, cryogenically isolate it, and store it for stable and radiocarbon isotope analysis. The REDICS system offers multiple advantages to the DIC extraction method which has been used for the last several decades at the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility (NOSAMS) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, including faster DIC extraction, streamlined analysis, and minimized set-up and prep time. The system was tested using sodium carbonate and seawater standards, duplicates of which were also processed on the water stripping line (WSL) at NOSAMS. The results demonstrate that the system successfully extracts, quantifies, and stores more than 99% of the DIC in less than 20 min. Stable and radiocarbon isotope analysis demonstrated system precision of 0.04‰ and 7.8‰, respectively. A Sargasso Sea depth profile was used to further validate the system. The results show high precision for both stable and radiocarbon analysis with pooled standard deviations of 0.02‰ and 5.6‰, respectively. A comparison between the REDICS and WSL analyses indicates a good accuracy for both stable and radio-isotope analysis.
  • Article
    Radiocarbon in dissolved organic carbon by UV oxidation: an update of procedures and blank characterization at NOSAMS
    (Cambridge University Press, 2022-02-11) Xu, Li ; Roberts, Mark L. ; Elder, Kathryn L. ; Hansman, Roberta L. ; Gagnon, Alan R. ; Kurz, Mark D.
    This note describes improvements of UV oxidation method that is used to measure carbon isotopes of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) at the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility (NOSAMS). The procedural blank is reduced to 2.6 ± 0.6 μg C, with Fm of 0.42 ± 0.10 and δ13C of –28.43 ± 1.19‰. The throughput is improved from one sample per day to two samples per day.
  • Article
    Ultra-small graphitization reactors for ultra-microscale 14C analysis at the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (NOSAMS) Facility
    (University of Arizona Libraries, 2015) Shah Walter, Sunita R. ; Gagnon, Alan R. ; Roberts, Mark L. ; McNichol, Ann P. ; Lardie Gaylord, Mary C. ; Klein, Elizabeth
    In response to the increasing demand for 14C analysis of samples containing less than 25 µg C, ultra-small graphitization reactors with an internal volume of ~0.8 mL were developed at NOSAMS. For samples containing 6 to 25 µg C, these reactors convert CO2 to graphitic carbon in approximately 30 min. Although we continue to refine reaction conditions to improve yield, the reactors produce graphite targets that are successfully measured by AMS. Graphite targets produced with the ultra-small reactors are measured by using the Cs sputter source on the CFAMS instrument at NOSAMS where beam current was proportional to sample mass. We investigated the contribution of blank carbon from the ultra-small reactors and estimate it to be 0.3 ± 0.1 µg C with an Fm value of 0.43 ± 0.3. We also describe equations for blank correction and propagation of error associated with this correction. With a few exceptions for samples in the range of 6 to 7 µg C, we show that corrected Fm values agree with expected Fm values within uncertainty for samples containing 6–100 µg C.
  • Article
    Scientific access into Mercer Subglacial Lake: scientific objectives, drilling operations and initial observations
    (Cambridge University Press, 2021-01-08) Priscu, John C. ; Kalin, Jonas ; Winans, John ; Campbell, Timothy ; Siegfried, Matthew R. ; Skidmore, Mark ; Dore, John E. ; Leventer, Amy ; Harwood, David M. ; Duling, Dennis ; Zook, Robert ; Burnett, Justin ; Gibson, Dar ; Krula, Edward ; Mironov, Anatoly ; McManis, James ; Roberts, Graham ; Rosenheim, Brad E. ; Christner, Brent C. ; Kasic, Kathy ; Fricker, Helen A. ; Lyons, W. Berry ; Barker, Joel ; Bowling, Mark ; Collins, Billy ; Davis, Christina ; Gagnon, Alan R. ; Gardner, Christopher B. ; Gustafson, Chloe ; Kim, Ok-Sun ; Li, Wei ; Michaud, Alex ; Patterson, Molly O. ; Tranter, Martyn ; Venturelli, Ryan ; Vick-Majors, Trista ; Elsworth, Cooper
    The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) Project accessed Mercer Subglacial Lake using environmentally clean hot-water drilling to examine interactions among ice, water, sediment, rock, microbes and carbon reservoirs within the lake water column and underlying sediments. A ~0.4 m diameter borehole was melted through 1087 m of ice and maintained over ~10 days, allowing observation of ice properties and collection of water and sediment with various tools. Over this period, SALSA collected: 60 L of lake water and 10 L of deep borehole water; microbes >0.2 μm in diameter from in situ filtration of ~100 L of lake water; 10 multicores 0.32–0.49 m long; 1.0 and 1.76 m long gravity cores; three conductivity–temperature–depth profiles of borehole and lake water; five discrete depth current meter measurements in the lake and images of ice, the lake water–ice interface and lake sediments. Temperature and conductivity data showed the hydrodynamic character of water mixing between the borehole and lake after entry. Models simulating melting of the ~6 m thick basal accreted ice layer imply that debris fall-out through the ~15 m water column to the lake sediments from borehole melting had little effect on the stratigraphy of surficial sediment cores.
  • Article
    C-14 Blank Corrections for 25-100 mu G samples at the National Ocean Sciences AMS Laboratory
    (Cambridge University Press, 2019-07-22) Roberts, Mark L. ; Elder, Kathryn L. ; Jenkins, William J. ; Gagnon, Alan R. ; Xu, Li ; Hlavenka, Joshua ; Longworth, Brett E.
    Replicate radiocarbon (14C) measurements of organic and inorganic control samples, with known Fraction Modern values in the range Fm = 0–1.5 and mass range 6 μg–2 mg carbon, are used to determine both the mass and radiocarbon content of the blank carbon introduced during sample processing and measurement in our laboratory. These data are used to model, separately for organic and inorganic samples, the blank contribution and subsequently “blank correct” measured unknowns in the mass range 25–100 μg. Data, formulas, and an assessment of the precision and accuracy of the blank correction are presented.