Radiocarbon in soils

A laboratory technician density separates soil

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Publications delving into the nuances of soil fractionation techniques:


Crow, S.E., Swanston, C.W., Lajtha, K., Brooks, J.R. and Keirstead, H., 2007. Density fractionation of forest soils: methodological questions and interpretation of incubation results and turnover time in an ecosystem context. Biogeochemistry, 85(1), pp.69-90.

Castanha, C., Trumbore, S. and Amundson, R., 2008. Methods of separating soil carbon pools affect the chemistry and turnover time of isolated fractions. Radiocarbon, 50(1), pp.83-97.

Publications addressing the unique challenges and opportunities associated with fractionating Andisols:



Reviews of radiocarbon in soil:

Chapter 6 covers traditional mean residence time modeling in soils: Senesi, Nicola, Baoshan Xing, and Pan Ming Huang. Biophysico-chemical processes involving natural nonliving organic matter in environmental systems. Vol. 2. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Trumbore S (2009) gives a good review of the application of radiocarbon analysis to understanding soil C cycling.

Recent publications of interest:


He, Y., Trumbore, S. E., Torn, M. S., Harden, J. W., Vaughn, L. J., Allison, S. D., & Randerson, J. T. (2016). Radiocarbon constraints imply reduced carbon uptake by soils during the 21st century. Science, 353(6306), 1419-1424.