Radioactive carbon dating problems

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Since 1947, scientists have reckoned the ages of many old objects by measuring the amounts of radioactive carbon they contain.New research shows, however, that some estimates based on carbon may have erred by thousands of years.The fluctuation of the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere over time adds a small uncertainty, but contamination by "modern carbon" such as decayed organic matter from soils poses a greater possibility for error. Thomas Seiler, a physicist from Germany, gave the presentation in Singapore.He said that his team and the laboratories they employed took special care to avoid contamination.

Dinosaurs are not dated with Carbon-14, yet some researchers have claimed that there is still Carbon-14 in the bones. Do these data indicate that a more accurate method needs to be derived? The first is that atoms have always decayed at the same rate.And this isn’t really an assumption as the decay rates have been tested in the laboratory for a hundred years or so, we have an example of a natural nuclear reactor where we can measure the various products and determine the decay rates (and the fine structure constant), and we can observe the past by looking deep into the past of the universe. The sigh isn’t for the effort of writing, it’s for the effort of finding all the references.Scientists, using rigorous methods have established a process to eliminate this problem by calibrating radiocarbon dating results to items of a known age.In this way, items of unknown age can be tested and an age determined to a reasonable degree of accuracy. More tomorrow where we explore the concept of isochron dating and how it neatly destroys most of the rest of these ‘issues’.

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