Problem with carbon dating


27-Dec-2017 17:03

Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in “lead” pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes.One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms: carbon-14, or C ratio gets smaller.So, we have a “clock” which starts ticking the moment something dies.Obviously, this works only for things which were once living.

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People wonder how millions of years could be squeezed into the biblical account of history. Christians, by definition, take the statements of Jesus Christ seriously.As scientists who study earth’s (relatively) modern history rely on this measurement tool to place their findings in the correct time period, the discovery that it is unreliable could put some in a quandary.For instance, remnants of organic matter formerly held up as solid evidence of the most recent, large-scale global warming event some 40,000 years ago may actually date back far earlier to a previous ice age.They arrived at this conclusion by comparing age estimates obtained using two different methods - analysis of radioactive carbon in a sample and determination of the ratio of uranium to thorium in the sample.

In some cases, the latter ratio appears to be a much more accurate gauge of age than the customary method of carbon dating, the scientists said.

Libby, the discoverer of the C14 dating method, was very disappointed with this problem.