It is an essential technology that is heavily involved in archaeology and should be explored in greater depth. Radiocarbon dating uses the naturally occurring isotope Carbon to approximate the age of organic materials.
Often, archaeologists use graves and plant remains to date sites. Since its conception by Willard Libby in , it has been invaluable to the discipline.
In fact, many important archaeological artifacts have been dated using this method including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin. Though radiocarbon dating is startlingly accurate for the most part, it has a few sizable flaws.
The technology uses a series of mathematical calculations—the most recognizable of which is known as half-life—to estimate the age the organism stopped ingesting the isotope. Unfortunately, the amount of Carbon in the atmosphere has not been steady throughout history. In fact, it has fluctuated a great deal over the years.
This variation is caused by both natural processes and human activity. Humans began making an impact during the Industrial Revolution.
The isotope decreased by a small fraction due to the combustion of fossil fuels, among other factors. The answer to the problem of fluctuating amounts of this important isotope is calibration. Standard calibration curves are now used for more accurate readings.
They might have to test a sample 5 or 6 times until they get the age that they want. How would you know any of the dates given are right if you are getting a different one every time? Fossils are dated by their geological position. And as we mentioned earlier the dates on the geologic column were chosen out of the clear blue sky with no scientific basis. So their entire dating method for dating rocks and fossils is based off of circular reasoning.
The atmosphere has very distinctive layers to it. This radioactive carbon 14 is different from regular carbon. It is produced by radiation striking the atmosphere. In essence, sunlight strikes the atmosphere, slaps the nitrogen around, and turns it into carbon So it all starts by the sunlight striking the atmosphere. About 21 pounds of carbon 14 is produced every year; and that is spread out all over the world. If you look at a periodic table you will notice that Carbon and Nitrogen are right next to each other.
Nitrogen has an atomic weight of 14 and Carbon has an atomic weight of If the sunlight slaps the nitrogen around, like talked about earlier, it will knock a few things off of it and it becomes Carbon It still weighs as much as nitrogen, but it is now considered carbon. It is called radioactive because it is unstable and will eventually break apart.
On average half of it will break down every 5, years. While it is Carbon 14 it is floating around in the atmosphere and latches onto oxygen becoming carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis plants breathe in carbon dioxide and make it part of their tissue. Animals eat plants and make it part of their bodies as well. This is how Carbon 14 gets into the living world. It gets produced in the atmosphere from the sun, the plants breathe it in, and the animals eat the plants. We have all either eaten plants or eaten animals that have eaten plants.
The plants are breathing in this carbon dioxide and some of the carbon is radioactive. If the atmosphere contains. So, you probably have. When a plant or animal dies it stops taking in carbon 14 and whatever it had starts to decay. It was decaying while it was alive, but now there is nothing coming in to replace it.
So what they do is compare the amount of carbon 14 in the fossil to the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere. If the fossil only contains half as much carbon 14 as the atmosphere, it is assumed to have been dead for one half-life, or 5, years.
here While it was alive it should have had. If a fossil only has. In theory the amount of carbon 14 never goes to zero. However, for practical purposes we cannot measure passed a certain amount.
There should be no measurable carbon 14 after about 40, — 50, years. Yet it has proven impossible to find any natural source of carbon below Pleistocene Ice Age strata that does not contain significant amounts of carbon 14, even though such strata are supposed to be millions or billions of years old.
These constitute very strong evidence that the earth is only thousands, not billions, of years old. Now think for a minute of what this means. The textbooks say that coal formed million years ago. However, when coal is tested it still has carbon How is that possible? If all of the carbon 14 atoms would have disappeared at a maximum of , years, why would there still be carbon 14 atoms in coal?
Obviously it is not million years old. Also diamonds, which they say formed millions and millions of years ago, still have carbon 14 in them.
So how do you get carbon 14 in diamonds? Again it is obvious that they are not millions of years old.
The carbon dating assumptions need to be pointed out. It is also losing carbon 14 through decay. The question is how long would it take the atmosphere to reach a stage called equilibrium?