Radiocarbon dating - Wikipedia
Without understanding the mechanics of it, we put our blind faith in the words of scientists, who assure us that carbon dating is a reliable. In last Tuesday's lecture, radiocarbon dating was covered briefly. It is an essential technology that is heavily involved in archaeology and. Do all scientists accept the 14C dating method as reliable and accurate? Carbon is used for dating because it is unstable (radioactive).
To radiocarbon date an organic material, a scientist can measure the ratio of remaining Carbon to the unchanged Carbon to see how long it has been since the material's source died. Advancing technology has allowed radiocarbon dating to become accurate to within just a few decades in many cases.
Carbon dating is a brilliant way for archaeologists to take advantage of the natural ways that atoms decay.
Is Carbon Dating Reliable?
Unfortunately, humans are on the verge of messing things up. The slow, steady process of Carbon creation in the upper atmosphere has been dwarfed in the past centuries by humans spewing carbon from fossil fuels into the air. Since fossil fuels are millions of years old, they no longer contain any measurable amount of Carbon Thus, as millions of tons of Carbon are pushed into the atmosphere, the steady ratio of these two isotopes is being disrupted.
In a study published last yearImperial College London physicist Heather Graven pointed out how these extra carbon emissions will skew radiocarbon dating. Although Carbon comprises just over 1 percent of Earth's atmosphere, plants take up its larger, heavier atoms at a much lower rate than Carbon during photosynthesis. Thus Carbon is found in very low levels in the fossil fuels produced from plants and the animals that eat them.
Standard calibration curves are now used for more accurate readings. These curves indicate the changes in Carbon throughout the years and modifies the end result of the tests to reflect that. Though the calibrated date is more precise, many scholars still use the uncalibrated date in order to keep chronologies consistent in academic communities.
As the lecture detailed, it is only accurate from about 62, years ago to 1, A.
There is a sizable amount of time before and after that period that cannot be investigated using this method. Also, archaeologists cannot use their hands to touch the samples or smoke near them. They risk seriously altering the result of the test.
Radiocarbon Dating: A Closer Look At Its Main Flaws | Great Discoveries in Archaeology
If an archaeologist wanted to date a dead tree to see when humans used it to build tools, their readings would be significantly thrown off.
This is because radiocarbon dating gives the date when the tree ceased its intake of Carbon—not when it was being used for weapons and other instruments! The methodology is quite accurate, but dendrochronology supposedly shows that the C14 dates go off because of changes in the equilibrium over time, and that the older the dates the larger the error.Radiometric Dating is Flawed!! Really?? How Old IS the Earth?
Despite this she continually uses the c14 dates to create 'absolute' chronologies. She says this is ok so long as you take into account the correction factors from dendrochronology.
They conveniently forget to mention that the tree ring chronology was arranged by C14 dating. The scientists who were trying to build the chronology found the tree rings so ambiguous that they could not decide which rings matched which using the bristlecone pine.
So they tested some of the ring sequences by C14 to put the sequences in the 'right' order.
How Accurate is Carbon Dating?
Once they did that they developed the overall sequence. And this big sequence is then used to 'correct' C14 dates. Talk of circular reasoning!!!! Even if the rate of decay is constant, without a knowledge of the exact ratio of C12 to C14 in the initial sample, the dating technique is still subject to question.
Traditional 14C testing assumes equilibrium in the rate of formation and the rate of decay. This skews the 'real' answer to a much younger age.