Flaws of carbon dating


15-Dec-2016 15:55

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We note that at the instant the swimmer touches the end of the pool our wristwatch reads and 53 seconds.How long has the competitor taken to swim the race?Living organisms are constantly incorporating this C-14 into their bodies along with other carbon isotopes.When the organisms die, they stop incorporating new C-14, and the old C-14 starts to decay back into N-14 by emitting beta particles.

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Kieth and Anderson show considerable evidence that the mussels acquired much of their carbon from the limestone of the waters they lived in and from some very old humus as well.

By measuring the ratio of the radio isotope to non-radioactive carbon, the amount of carbon-14 decay can be worked out, thereby giving an age for the specimen in question.

But that assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock.

Because this break down occurs at a known rate it is theoretically possible to compare the amount of regular carbon and the amount of radioactive carbon and estimate just how long an organism has been dead.

Although the theory of radiocarbon dating is interesting, there are several inherent problems with the process.

The clock was initially calibrated by dating objects of known age such as Egyptian mummies and bread from Pompeii; work that won Willard Libby the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.