Start Carbon 14 dating mistakes

Carbon 14 dating mistakes

Thus the physical principle of the method is well established. The dates obtained by radiometric dating are verified by independent methods, including dendrochronology (tree rings), varve chronology (sediment layers), ice cores, coral banding, speleotherms (cave formations), fission track dating, and electron spin resonance dating.

Carbon-14 is continually formed in nature by the interaction of neutrons with nitrogen-14 in the Earth’s atmosphere; the neutrons required for this reaction are produced by cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere.

Radiocarbon present in molecules of atmospheric carbon dioxide enters the biological carbon cycle: it is absorbed from the air by green plants and then passed on to animals through the food chain.

Other methods do not require knowing the initial quantities.

For example, potassium decays into two different isotopes of argon having different half-lives.

For dating back to about 35,000 years, sediment layers are precise. Sediments include different types of pollen depending upon the season.

Consequently, individual years can be identified by season, so there is no possibility of layers being confused.

C14 is continually being created and decaying, leading to an equilibrium state in the atmosphere.

When the carbon dioxide, containing C14 as well as stable C12 and C13, is taken in by plants it is no longer exposed to the intense cosmic ray bombardment in the upper atmosphere, so the carbon 14 isotope decays without being replenished.

There are about two dozen decay pairs used for dating.

Uranium 235 decay to lead has a half-life of 713 million years, so it is well suited to dating the universe.

other isotope pairs cover intermediate time periods between the spans for carbon 14 and uranium.