Does radiation affect carbon dating


16-Nov-2017 02:50

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All life requires carbon and, chemically speaking, carbon-14 acts just like the far-more-abundant carbon-12.

Any living thing will incorporate carbon-14 into its body until it dies, after which no new carbon-14 enters and any previously incorporated amount decays as described.

3.5 decays/gram/minute of carbon would be produced by a sample 11,460 years old.

However, atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in the late 1950's and early 1960's greatly increased the amount of radiocarbon in the atmosphere, so the decay rate of 14 decays per minute more than doubled.

Would you trust a dating technique that said living mollusks had shells 2,300 years old, or worse, 27,000 years?

What if that same technique yielded dates for Triassic wood (when the dinosaurs lived) at 34,000 years and dated millions-of-years-old coal, oil, and even diamonds at less than 100,000 years? Libby and others in 1949, radiocarbon dating revolutionized archaeology––and other scientific fields––by establishing robust dates for organic materials of a biological origin like wood, bone, or shell.

Nitrogen atoms high in the atmosphere can be converted to radiocarbon if they are struck by neutrons produced by cosmic ray bombardment.

The rate of bombardment is greatest near the poles, where the Earth's magnetic field is dipping into the Earth and therefore does not deflect incoming cosmic rays.

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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.Research has been ongoing since the 1960s to determine what the proportion of in the atmosphere has been over the past fifty thousand years.