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Carbon dating problem

carbon dating problem-73

By measuring the ratio of the radio isotope to non-radioactive carbon, the amount of carbon-14 decay can be worked out, thereby giving an age for the specimen in question.

Before we get into the details of how radiometric dating methods are used, we need to review some preliminary concepts from chemistry.As scientists will often claim something to be millions or billions of years old (ages that do not conform to the Biblical account of the age of the earth), Christians are often left wondering about the accuracy of the carbon-14 method.The truth is, carbon-14 dating (or radiocarbon dating, as its also called) is not a precise dating method in many cases, due to faulty assumptions and other limitations on this method.The clock was initially calibrated by dating objects of known age such as Egyptian mummies and bread from Pompeii; work that won Willard Libby the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.But even he “realized that there probably would be variation”, says Christopher Bronk Ramsey, a geochronologist at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the latest work, published today in Science.Recall that atoms are the basic building blocks of matter.

Atoms are made up of much smaller particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons.

Various geologic, atmospheric and solar processes can influence atmospheric carbon-14 levels.

Since the 1960s, scientists have started accounting for the variations by calibrating the clock against the known ages of tree rings.

Protons and neutrons make up the center (nucleus) of the atom, and electrons form shells around the nucleus.

The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom determines the element.

Climate records from a Japanese lake are set to improve the accuracy of the dating technique, which could help to shed light on archaeological mysteries such as why Neanderthals became extinct.