Limitations of using carbon dating


09-Apr-2017 07:29

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This beta release allows the atom to turn back into Nitrogen. This radioactivity occurs at a measurable rate with a half-life of 5,730 years (Warf, 212).

C14 on average emits 15.2 beta particles per minute, or 15.2 disintegrations per minute (dpm), for every gram of carbon (Warf, 213).

Here I will present what radiocarbon is, the dating methods, the assumptions that govern them, and the known discrepancies that plague the method.

With a thorough understanding of this dating method, it is my opinion that its ingenious fundamentals can be appreciated, yet greatly overshadowed by its limitations.

Posted: February 18, 2013 in Biology Related, Essays and Papers, Fossil Related, geology related, History Related Tags: ancient, assumption, c14, carbon, carbon14, date, dating, dendrochronology, effect, history, isotope, method, radio, reservoir, rings, tree Radiocarbon dating is a popular dating method the general public is fairly familiar with.

Though the vast majority of CO2 is comprised of the more common and stable isotope of carbon, carbon 12 (C12), a small fraction of CO2 (one in 765 million), contains C14.

As is common fact, plants photosynthesize and consume CO2, fixing its carbon.

The neutrons eventually slow down and bond with the nucleus of the nitrogen changing the atomic weight to that of an unstable carbon atom, Carbon 14 (or C14) (Warf, 212 & Taylor, 6).

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As the Carbon 14 slowly descends into our lower atmosphere it bonds with oxygen becoming the very unpopular CO2 greenhouse gas (Bowman, 10).When an organism dies, it obviously no longer eats, photosynthesizes, etc.There is therefore no way for additional C14 to enter the organism once dead.This leads to an important fact: Only materials once part of the biosphere (organic) can be dated with radiocarbon (Bowman, 12), with the exception of some non-organic materials which can be dated with radiocarbon if their formation involved C14.