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on the Applications of Accelerators in Research and Industry, J. On subterranean bacteria: "Deep life in the slow, slow lane." Richard A. More about subterranean bacteria: "A hydrogen-based subsurface microbial community dominated by methanogens." 2002. Geochemical characterization indicates that geothermal hydrogen, not organic carbon, is the primary energy source for this methanogen-dominated microbial community. More than 90% of the 16S ribosomal DNA sequences recovered from hydrothermal waters circulating through deeply buried igneous rocks in Idaho are related to hydrogen-using methanogenic microorganisms. I picked him to bother with my emails because he had recently written some nice review articles about the AMS technique in the Radiocarbon journal. (Basically there are two ways of measuring C: (1) count the radioactive emissions, or, (2) a newer method, based on separating out the different carbon isotopes by their different masses via accelerator mass spectrometry [AMS] and counting the atoms themselves.) Dr. Since the halflife of carbon-14 is 5,730 years, any that was present in the coal at the time of formation should have long since decayed to stable daughter products. "Ion Beam Preparation Systems for Atomic Isobar Reduction in Accelerator Mass Spectrometry." 2001.
(4) Lowe goes on to make recommendations about using only freshly mined dry coal stored under inert gas, and other recommendations about choice of "background" for radiocarbon labs. (This research is part of the "Old Carbon Project" funded by the U. National Science Foundation's Particle and Nuclear Astrophysics Program and also by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council. The team will be presenting results to date this September at the 9th International Conference on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry in Japan.) Finally, I did also get a copy of David Lowe's 1989 Radiocarbon paper. A summary: (1) old coal often has a little more C by radioactive decay. ABSTRACT: The search for extraterrestrial life may be facilitated if ecosystems can be found on Earth that exist under conditions analogous to those present on other planets or moons. Example of high uranium content in certain coals: "Anomalous trace element abundances in Tertiary coal ash from East Garo Hills, Meghalaya, India." 1996.