Ink carbon dating
The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.
No other scientific method has managed to revolutionize man’s understanding not only of his present but also of events that already happened thousands of years ago.
After the death of the organism, processes of decay will return its carbon to the atmosphere, unless it is sequestered — for example in the form of coal.
This means that when an organism is alive, its ratio of C dating, or C-C dating.
Radiocarbon, or carbon 14, is an isotope of the element carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive. Carbon 14 is continually being formed in the upper atmosphere by the effect of cosmic ray neutrons on nitrogen 14 atoms.
It is rapidly oxidized in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the global carbon cycle.
In last Tuesday’s lecture, radiocarbon dating was covered briefly.
It is an essential technology that is heavily involved in archaeology and should be explored in greater depth.
The terrestrial carbon cycle is fairly simple: plants get their carbon from the atmosphere via the process of photosynthesis; herbivores get their carbon from plants, and carnivores from the herbivores.
One of the nice things about this method is that we don't have to worry about carbon being lost from the sample.
Because we are measuring the abundance of two isotopes of carbon, and because isotopes of the same element will be chemically identical, no ordinary process can preferentially remove C is going to be small enough to begin with, being only 0.0000000001% of atmospheric carbon, and then as the decay process progresses it's going to get smaller and smaller.
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.