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Radiometric dating uncertainty

Modern radiocarbon dating uses tree-ring chronologies to produce the calibration curve.

Because the radiocarbon to stable carbon ratio in the atmosphere has fluctuated over time, there are "wiggles" in the calibration curve.

In addition to permitting more accurate dating within archaeological sites than previous methods, it allows comparison of dates of events across great distances.

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The older a sample is, the less (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to around 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally permit accurate analysis of older samples.This, in fact, is the most significant factor contributing to loss of precision in radiocarbon dates today.However, this contribution is usually only a few decades.The idea behind radiocarbon dating is straightforward, but years of work were required to develop the technique to the point where accurate dates could be obtained.Research has been ongoing since the 1960s to determine what the proportion of in the atmosphere has been over the past fifty thousand years.Once the radiocarbon concentration in a sample has been measured, the sample's age in "radiocarbon years" is determined mathematically.The radiocarbon age must then be calibrated to determine the sample's age in calendar years.Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.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.Thus it is possible in some instances for two samples from a few decades apart to have the same radiocarbon concentration today, and hence the same apparent radiocarbon age.This happens whenever there is a wiggle in the curve at the time the samples died.

595 comments

  1. The Radiometric Dating Game How radiometric dating works in. the uncertainty in the branching ratio of potassium decay might mean that there is a fudge factor.

  2. Radiometric dating is a much misunderstood phenomenon. Evolutionists often misunderstand the method, assuming it gives a definite age for tested samples.

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