Chronology of Sea Water.
NAVAL OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE NSTL STATION MS
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This report is a summary of isotopic dating techniques applied to sea water. Several of the naturally occurring isotopes have been investigated for use in determining the chronology of sea water. Only one, C14, has found widespread use for this purpose. The mean time since equilibration of the deep and bottom water with the atmosphere is calculated from C14 measurements to be between about 1000 and 2000 years. The corresponding apparent time beneath the surface layer is of the order of 500 years less, with the youngest water in the Atlantic Ocean and the oldest in the Pacific. Processes of equilibration and dissolution of carbon within the ocean must be understood better before such figures can be adequately interpreted. Of the other natural isotopes, tritium, radium and, to a limited extent, silicon-32, have found application in the study of circulation and mixing processes in the ocean. Radium shows particular promise for the study of diffusion rates near the bottom. Author
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography