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On the other hand, residence times of C14 in the ocean may be up to 1000's of years.
The effects of the upwelling zone upon shellfish 14C ages is particularly well documented along the coasts of California and Mexico (Berger, Taylor and Libby, 1966; Druffel and Williams, 1991).
Shell is deposited in the form of calcium carbonate crystals bonded in an organic matrix with a protein called conchiolin.
According to Morton (19), this comprises an outer layer of quinone-tanned protein (periostracum), a columnar crystalline layer usually consisting of either calcite or aragonite, and an inner, nacreous layer of thin crystalline sheets.
Shell material may undergo a post-depositional recrystallisation which may affect its true radiocarbon age.