Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle Facility Taking the Planet's Pulse with Radiocarbon

Based in the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle Facility is a new radiocarbon dating facility based around an Ionplus MICADAS (Mini Carbon Dating System). As part of the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre, the facility is located in a new purpose-built laboratory dedicated to radiocarbon analysis, with equipment for sample preparation, graphitisation and Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) dating.

UNSW has exclusive access to ancient sub-fossil and remote subantarctic trees, Antarctic ice, aquifers and sedimentary sequences spanning the last 50,000 years. Capable of making thousands of radiocarbon measurements a year, the MICADAS system is the first in the Southern Hemisphere and will support UNSW researchers in their efforts to spearhead a revolution in understanding the planet’s climate-carbon system.

To learn more about radiocarbon, read Chris Turney's Nature review on Hot Carbon

Ancient air trapped in Antarctic ice

As part of this endeavour, we are collaborating with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), to train a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers needed to meet the environmental challenges of the future

Directors: Professor Chris Turney (Strategy) and Dr Chris Marjo (Operations)

We are supported by a Scientific Advisory Committee comprising staff from UNSW and ANSTO


Our current facility paper, describing the protocols for each sample type…

Radiocarbon Protocols and First Intercomparison Results from the Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle Facility, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Turney, C., Becerra-Valdivia, L., Sookdeo, A., Thomas, Z.A., Palmer, J., Haines, H.A., Cadd, H., Wacker, L., Baker, A., Andersen, M.S. and Jacobsen, G., 2021. Radiocarbon, 63(3), pp.1003-1023.

The Chronos team is radiocarbon and so much more. A selection of recent papers from current members of Chronos below…


Late Holocene climate anomaly concurrent with fire activity and ecosystem shifts in the eastern Australian Highlands.

Thomas, Z.A., Mooney, S., Cadd, H., Baker, A., Turney, C., Schneider, L., Hogg, A., Haberle, S., Green, K., Weyrich, L.S. and Perez, V., 2021. Science of The Total Environment, p.149542.

A global environmental crisis 42,000 years ago.

Cooper, A., Turney, C.S., Palmer, J., Hogg, A., McGlone, M., Wilmshurst, J., Lorrey, A.M., Heaton, T.J., Russell, J.M., McCracken, K. and Anet, J.G., 2021. Science, 371(6531), pp.811-818.

Distal ash fall from the mid-Holocene eruption of Mount Hudson (H2) discovered in the Falkland Islands: New possibilities for Southern Hemisphere archive synchronisation.

Panaretos, P., Albert, P.G., Thomas, Z.A., Turney, C.S., Stern, C.R., Jones, G., Williams, A.N., Smith, V.C., Hogg, A.G. and Manning, C.J., 2021. Quaternary Science Reviews, 266, p.107074.

The implications of the recently recognized mid-20th century shift in the Earth system.

Turney, C. and Fogwill, C., 2021. The Anthropocene Review, p.2053019621995526.

Climate reconstruction from paired oxygen-isotope analyses of chironomid larval head capsules and endogenic carbonate (Hawes Water, UK)-Potential and problems.

Lombino, A., Atkinson, T., Brooks, S.J., Gröcke, D.R., Holmes, J., Jones, V.J., Marshall, J.D., Nierop, K.G. and Thomas, Z., 2021. Quaternary Science Reviews, 270, p.107160.

Using charcoal, ATR FTIR and chemometrics to model the intensity of pyrolysis: Exploratory steps towards characterising fire events.

Constantine IV, M., Mooney, S., Hibbert, B., Marjo, C., Bird, M., Cohen, T., Forbes, M., McBeath, A., Rich, A. and Stride, J., 2021. Science of The Total Environment, 783, p.147052.


One Thousand Three Hundred Years of Variability in the Position of the South Pacific Convergence Zone.

Higgins, P.A., Palmer, J.G., Turney, C.S.M., Andersen, M.S. and Cook, E.R., 2020. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(17), p.e2020GL088238.

SHCal20 Southern Hemisphere calibration, 0–55,000 years cal BP.

Hogg, A.G., Heaton, T.J., Hua, Q., Palmer, J.G., Turney, C.S.M., Southon, J., Bayliss, A., Blackwell, P.G., Boswijk, G., Bronk Ramsey, C., Pearson, C., Petchey, F., Reimer, P., Reimer, R., Wacker, L., 2020. Radiocarbon 62, 759-778.

The IntCal20 Northern Hemisphere radiocarbon age calibration curve (0–55 cal kBP). Reimer, P.J., Austin, W.E.N., Bard, E., Bayliss, A., Blackwell, P.G., Bronk Ramsey, C., Butzin, M., Cheng, H., Edwards, R.L., Friedrich, M., Grootes, P.M., Guilderson, T.P., Hajdas, I., Heaton, T.J., Hogg, A.G., Hughen, K.A., Kromer, B., Manning, S.W., Muscheler, R., Palmer, J.G., Pearson, C., van der Plicht, J., Reimer, R.W., Richards, D.A., Scott, E.M., Southon, J.R., Turney, C.S.M., Wacker, L., Adolphi, F., Büntgen, U., Capano, M., Fahrni, S.M., Fogtmann-Schulz, A., Friedrich, R., Köhler, P., Kudsk, S., Miyake, F., Olsen, J., Reinig, F., Sakamoto, M., Sookdeo, A., Talamo, S., 2020. Radiocarbon 62, 725-757.

Unprecedented long-distance transport of macroscopic charcoal from a large, intense forest fire in eastern Australia: Implications for fire history reconstruction.

Woodward, C. and Haines, H.A., 2020. The Holocene, 30(7), pp.947-952.

Urgent need for an integrated policy framework for biodiversity loss and climate change.

Turney, C., Ausseil, A.G. and Broadhurst, L., 2020. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 4(8), pp.996-996.

Changes in groundwater dissolved organic matter character in a coastal sand aquifer due to rainfall recharge.

McDonough, L.K., O’Carroll, D.M., Meredith, K., Andersen, M.S., Brügger, C., Huang, H., Rutlidge, H., Behnke, M.I., Spencer, R.G., McKenna, A. and Marjo, C.E., 2020. Water Research, 169, p.115201.

Characterisation of shallow groundwater dissolved organic matter in aeolian, alluvial and fractured rock aquifers.

McDonough, L.K., Rutlidge, H., O'Carroll, D.M., Andersen, M.S., Meredith, K., Behnke, M.I., Spencer, R.G., McKenna, A.M., Marjo, C.E., Oudone, P. and Baker, A., 2020. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 273, pp.163-176.


Prof Chris Turney, Director (Strategy)

Dr Bill Hiscock, Technical Officer

Juee Vohra, Technical Officer

Dr Heather Haines, Dendrochronology Research

Dr Zoë Thomas, ARC DECRA Fellow

Dr Haidee Cadd, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Jonathan Palmer, Research Fellow

Created By
Melissa McGuirk