Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Radiocarbon in annual coral rings from the eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean


Sixty radiocarbon measurements were performed on aragonite from annually banded corals collected from three sites in the Galápagos Islands. Preanthropogenic Δ14C values of coral that grew around A.D. 1930 averaged −70‰. This is substantially lower than average values previously reported (−51‰) for corals from Florida and Belize in the western North Atlantic Ocean. A decrease of 6‰ was noticed in coral that grew from 1930 to 1954. This decrease could be interpreted as a Suess effect in surface ocean water. The 100‰ increase in Δ14C for coral that grew from 1954 to 1973 is the result of bomb-produced 14C that was introduced to the surface ocean waters. The 14C levels in corals that grew during El Niño years were considerably higher than those for normal years. These higher values are attributed to the absence of up welling at the equator during El Niño events.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View