AMS dating groundwater

Water Analyses: Radiocarbon Dating, Stable Isotopes

recommended container Recommended Packaging
  • Please use a box with sufficient packing to prevent breakage during shipment.
lab recommendation
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Beta Analytic Services Turnaround Time
(business days)
Recommended Sample Volume Recommended Container
– δ13C on Water DIC 14 5 mL Small Vial *
– δ13C + δD + δ18O 14 5 mL Small Vial *
δD + δ18O 14 5 mL Small Vial *
δ17O 14 5 mL Small Vial *
– δ17O + δD + δ18O 14 5 mL Small Vial *
Radiocarbon Analysis of DOC in Freshwater ** 30 business days
(1-20 samples in one batch)
1 L Amber glass or Brown Nalgene ***
Radiocarbon Dating (Water DIC) ** 2-14 (depending on AMS service selected) 250 mL – 1 L Nalgene bottles ***
(more details found here)
Isobar Science Services (Beta Analytic subsidiary)
Boron analysis11B) Please contact 100 mL Small-neck plastic bottle
DO NOT use glass vials.
Lead (206Pb/204Pb, 207Pb/204Pb, 208Pb/204Pb,
208Pb/206Pb, and 207Pb/206Pb ratios)
Please contact 125 mL Small-neck plastic bottle
DO NOT use glass vials.
Strontium (87Sr/86Sr ratio) Please contact 125 mL Small-neck plastic bottle
DO NOT use glass vials.

vial water analysisThe isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) can only handle samples up to about 35 PSU (the standard salinity of seawater). The δ18O and δD values are not reported for hypersaline samples (35 PSU or more) and δ13C will only be reported if enough CO2 can be obtained from that sample. 

* Use a small plastic vial with no prior use and fill to the top with no headspace. Beta does not accept water samples for stable isotope analysis that still need to be pretreated (send filtered samples with no chemicals added).

** Water DIC – δ13C, δ18O, and δD analyses are included with radiocarbon dating at no additional cost. Freshwater DOC – Fees are inclusive of δ13C measurements. DOC extraction fee applies in addition to the standard price.

*** Please DO NOT use glass bottles, recycled drinking water bottles, or other lightweight / low-density plastic bottles as they may allow isotopic effects to take place and bias the measurements, causing inaccuracies in the reported results. We accept no responsibility for the accuracy of testing results for samples submitted in collection bottles other than those specified.

Disclaimer: This video is hosted in a third-party site and may contain advertising.

This video excerpt is part of Beta Analytic’s webinar: Isotopes in Hydrology

How to Collect Groundwater Samples

Water Types Accepted

  • Radiocarbon dating and stable isotope analysis: Brackish, ground, sea (<35 PSU), and surface water
    Note: For turbid water samples, you must filter out any debris prior to submitting the sample using 0.7-micron glass fiber filter paper.
  • Boron analysis: Boron concentration must be 10 ppb or greater

We DO NOT Accept

  • Water samples that have been collected from any area that is near to a nuclear power plant, commercial or medical reactors, industrial/medical waste disposal sites or from within their drainage areas as it could introduce artificial 14C into the sample.
  • Samples stored or handled in any laboratory or area that uses OR has ever used biomedical or artificially labeled 14C material at any time.
  • Water samples that have been treated with mercuric chloride (HgCl2) or sodium azide (NaN3). 
  • Water that has NaOH or other alkali chemicals added to the sample.

Submittal – Please use this online form.

How to Ship Water Samples to the Lab

Before placing the water bottles in a sturdy cardboard box, please put them inside a plastic bag and seal the bag with a zip-tie or duct tape. If any of the bottles leak during shipment, the water will not weaken the box. Please use a box with sufficient packing to prevent breakage while in transit.

We recommend commercial courier or ​registered ​first-class mail when sending the samples to the lab. Please email the courier and tracking number so we can monitor your package.

Quotation Requests

When requesting for a formal estimate/quote, please indicate in this form the number of water samples for analysis and the billing details of the paying institution. 

About Beta Analytic

Payment Terms

Sample Return Policy – We cannot return water samples.

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Page last updated: March 2024