Start Carbon 14 dating history

Carbon 14 dating history

The prodigious mobilization of science that produced nuclear weapons was so far-reaching that it revolutionized even the study of ancient climates.

Climate science required the invention and mastery of many difficult techniques.

These had pitfalls, which could lead to controversy.

date of organic material - but an approximate age, usually within a range of a few years either way.

The other method is “Relative Dating” which gives an order of events without giving an exact age (1): typically artefact typology or the study of the sequence of the evolution of fossils.

Radiocarbon dating may only be used on organic materials.

Typically (6): The above list is not exhaustive; most organic material is suitable so long as it is of sufficient age and has not mineralised - dinosaur bones are out as they no longer have any carbon left.

The radioactive isotope carbon-14 is created in the upper atmosphere when cosmic-ray particles from outer space strike nitrogen atoms and transform them into radioactive carbon.

Some of the carbon-14 might find its way into living creatures.

Carbon-14 is also passed onto the animals that eat those plants.

After death the amount of carbon-14 in the organic specimen decreases very regularly as the molecules decay.

Scientists use a technique called radiometric dating to estimate the ages of rocks, fossils, and the earth.