G. Davidson, I. C. Yang
The radiocarbon activity of carbon collected by vacuum distillation from a single partially saturated tuff began to decline after approximately 60% of the water and carbon had been extracted. Disproportionate changes in 14C activity and δ13C during distillation rule out simple isotopic fractionation as a causative explanation. Additional phenomena such as matrix diffusion and ion exclusion in micropores may play a role in altering the isotopic value of extracted carbon, but neither can fully account for the observed changes. The most plausible explanation is that distillation recovers carbon from an adsorbed phase that is depleted in 14C relative to DIC in the bulk pore water.