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Water – one of the most important resources on earth – is the focus of many scientific studies. Consisting of hydrogen and oxygen, their isotopic composition (especially 18O/16O and 2H/1H) allows conclusions to be drawn about the origin or climatic conditions during the formation of water. With the substances dissolved in water, it is therefore an excellent archive for (paleo-) climate research. Among other things, carbon (Total Carbon – TC) is dissolved in water and is therefore an important part of the carbon cycle. This can be of organic origin (TOC – Total Organic Carbon) and is mainly present as organic molecules. Carbon of inorganic origin (TIC – Total Inorganic Carbon) occurs as CO2, carbonates, carbonic acid or hydrogen carbonate. Thus, isotopic investigations of the carbon isotopes are also important investigations that can be performed on water. The carbon dissolved in water also allows the age of the water (or mixture) to be determined by 14C dating, which is particularly important for the investigation of paleowaters. In our laboratory, dating is performed on Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIC).

Sample properties

For 14C-dating of water approx. 250 ml water is required. Please fill the samples into brown (or darkened) glass bottles to suppress microbial growth and thus the change in carbon. Depending on the origin, poisoning of the water may be necessary to completely suppress microbial growth. This must be discussed in advance with the laboratory. The bottles should be filled without contact with air and should be filled with water to a large extent. For correct sampling of water, please consult the laboratory.