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Carbon dating questions

carbon dating questions-36

We will deal with carbon dating first and then with the other dating methods.Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on Earth.

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Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.Levels of carbon-14 become difficult to measure and compare after about 50,000 years (between 8 and 9 half lives; where 1% of the original carbon-14 would remain undecayed).The question should be whether or not carbon-14 can be used to date any artifacts at all? There are a few categories of artifacts that can be dated using carbon-14; however, they cannot be more 50,000 years old.Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50,000 years old.This technique is widely used on recent artifacts, but educators and students alike should note that this technique will not work on older fossils (like those of the dinosaurs alleged to be millions of years old).They are then able to calibrate the carbon dating method to produce fairly accurate results.

Carbon dating is thus accurate within the timeframe set by other archaeological dating techniques.

The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that radiocarbon is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen.

The resulting radiocarbon combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis; animals then acquire in a sample from a dead plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.

Unfortunately, we aren't able to reliably date artifacts beyond several thousand years.

Scientists have tried to extend confidence in the carbon dating method further back in time by calibrating the method using tree ring dating.

Furthermore, the ratio is known to fluctuate significantly over relatively short periods of time (e.g.