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The Delta±R value is only used for marine carbonates.Depending on the age of the marine carbonate, a 200- to 500-year correction (i.e.global marine reservoir correction) is applied automatically for all marine carbonates.This automatic correction means the radiocarbon date gets more recent in time due to the fact that it takes 200-500 years for present-day carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to be incorporated and distributed (equilibrated) through the ocean water column.A Delta±R correction is applied to the sample that has already been corrected with the global marine reservoir correction.The value that is provided by the client is subtracted or added to this already corrected age (depending if it is a Delta R or Delta–R value).The mixing of deep waters upward with surface waters—in a phenomenon known as upwelling—is latitude dependent and occurs predominantly in the equatorial region.
Terrestrial organisms like trees primarily get carbon 14 from atmospheric carbon dioxide but marine organisms do not.There are several factors that need to be considered because they affect the global concentration of carbon 14 and therefore that of any given sample for radiocarbon dating.The atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere are radiocarbon reservoirs of varying concentrations.These carbon 14 atoms then instantaneously react with oxygen present in the atmosphere to form carbon dioxide.The carbon dioxide formed with carbon 14 is indistinguishable from the carbon dioxide with the other carbon isotopes; hence the pathway of carbon 14 into the ocean, plants, and other living organisms is the same as that of carbon 12 and carbon 13.
Even if the organisms have the same age, they wouldn’t have the same carbon 14 content and would thus appear to be of different radiocarbon age. Surfaces of oceans and other bodies of water have two sources of radiocarbon – atmospheric carbon dioxide and the deep ocean.