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It is an essential technology that is heavily involved in archaeology and should be explored in greater depth. Radiocarbon dating uses the naturally occurring isotope Carbon to approximate the age of organic materials. Often, archaeologists use graves and plant remains to date sites. Since its conception by Willard Libby in , it has been invaluable to the discipline. In fact, many important archaeological artifacts have been dated using this method including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin. Though radiocarbon dating is startlingly accurate for the most part, it has a few sizable flaws. The technology uses a series of mathematical calculations-the most recognizable of which is known as half-life-to estimate the age the organism stopped ingesting the isotope.

In principle, any material of plant or animal origin, including textiles, wood, bones and leather, can be dated by its content of carbon 14, a radioactive form of carbon in the environment that is incorporated by all living things.

Because it is radioactive, carbon 14 steadily decays into other substances.

Comment from a reader: "Of course carbon dating isn't going to work on your Allosaurus bone. That method is only accurate to 40, years. So I would expect to get some weird number like 16, years if you carbon date a millions of years old fossil. So when you hear of a date of 30, years for a carbon date we believe it to be early after creation and only about 7, years old. If something carbon dates at 7, years we believe 5, is probably closer to reality (just before the flood).

But when a plant or animal dies, it can no longer accumulate fresh carbon 14, and the supply in the organism at the time of death is gradually depleted. Since the rate of depletion has been accurately determined half of any given amount of carbon 14 decays in 5, yearsscientists can calculate the time elapsed since something died from its residual carbon But scientists have long recognized that carbon dating is subject to error because of a variety of factors, including contamination by outside sources of carbon.

Therefore they have sought ways to calibrate and correct the carbon dating method. The best gauge they have found is dendrochronology: the measurement of age by tree rings.

Oct 18,   As a rule, carbon dates are younger than calendar dates: a bone carbon-dated to 10, years is around 11, years old, and 20, carbon years roughly equates to 24, calendar years. The problem, says Bronk Ramsey, is that tree rings provide a direct record that only goes as far back as about 14, Nature Magazine. This is because radiocarbon dating gives the date when the tree ceased its intake of Carbon-not when it was being used for weapons and other instruments! Since trees can have a lifespan of hundreds of years, its date of death might not even be relatively close to the date the archaeologists are looking for. Problem #9: You read that a fossil dinosaur skull has been found in Montana and that it has been carbon dated to be 73 million years old. Provide two (2) scientifically-based reasons to explain why C dating cannot do this. Solution: 1) A common rule of thumb is that a radioactive dating method is good out to about 10 half-lives.

Accurate tree ring records of age are available for a period extending 9, years into the past. But the tree ring record goes no further, so scientists have sought other indicators of age against which carbon dates can be compared. One such indicator is the uranium-thorium dating method used by the Lamont-Doherty group.

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Uraniuma radioactive element present in the environment, slowly decays to form thorium Using a mass spectrometer, an instrument that accelerates streams of atoms and uses magnets to sort them out according to mass and electric charge, the group has learned to measure the ratio of uranium to thorium very precisely.

The Lamont-Doherty scientists conducted their analyses on samples of coral drilled from a reef off the island of Barbados. The samples represented animals that lived at various times during the last 30, years. Alan Zindler, a professor of geology at Columbia University who is a member of the Lamont-Doherty research group, said age estimates using the carbon dating and uranium-thorium dating differed only slightly for the period from 9, years ago to the present.

Jun 06,   Carbon dating accuracy called into question after major flaw discovery. Though one of the most essential tools for determining an ancient object's age, carbon dating might not be as accurate as we once thought. Carbon dating problems math - Register and search over 40 million singles: matches and more. Find a man in my area! Free to join to find a woman and meet a woman online who is single and hunt for you. Find single man in the US with relations. Looking for novel in all the wrong places? Now, try the right place. May 31,   The group theorizes that large errors in carbon dating result from fluctuations in the amount of carbon 14 in the air. Changes in the Earth's magnetic field would change the deflection of cosmic.

One reason the group believes the uranium-thorium estimates to be more accurate than carbon dating is that they produce better matches between known changes in the Earth's orbit and changes in global glaciation. According to carbon dating of fossil animals and plants, the spreading and receding of great ice sheets lagged behind orbital changes by several thousand years, a delay that scientists found hard to explain.

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But Dr. Richard G. Fairbanks, a member of the Lamont-Doherty group, said that if the dates of glaciation were determined using the uranium-thorium method, the delay - and the puzzle - disappeared. It is nigh impossible to measure exactly zero.

It doesn't take much contamination to spoil a sample with near-zero quantity of C Creationists pounce on this explanation as meaning all carbon 14 readings are suspect. While that same level of contamination if this is the explanation will add some error to the dating of some reasonably aged sample, the error will be small - so long as the sample is not too old. The contamination is additive, not proportional. Alternate source of C14 production.

Natural diamonds are not pure carbon. The most common contaminant is nitrogen, 0. Nearby radioactive material could trigger exactly the same C14 production process from nitrogen as occurs in the upper atmosphere, albeit at a much reduced rate.

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Another possible avenue is C13, which has a small but non-zero neutron absorption cross section. By either mechanism, this is essentially internal contamination.

Why Carbon Dating Might Be in Danger

All this means is that measured dates older than some oldest reliable date are just that - to old to date reliably. I might be able to see if I can come up with some references. I won't be able to do so in the near term - my wife and kids want me to stop dorking with the internet and go out to eat. The article you were looking for is hereand yeah, it looks like you're right.

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Note: I think that should be I know I visited talkorigins. What is more alarming is that the Google searches for "carbon 14 RATE", "carbon 14 diamond", and "carbon 14 coal" yield hits predominantly in woowoo fundamentalist sites, and no hits on the first 15 pages 10 links per page to anything at talkorigins. I eventually managed to find an excellent article see the top of this post using pandasthumb.

That led me to this non-technical article. I think the news item on their front page refers to a much older event. What happened, from what I recall, is that someone hacked TalkOrigins and managed to get the site to display hidden spam links at the bottom of pages, making Google think it was a spam site and thus getting it removed from Google.

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They fixed that issue a while ago. PZ Myers says they've had some technical issues. I am working my way through Kirk Bertsche's 9 page essay on the subject.

Carbon dating problems

Thanks DH for this link. This article does a good job at explaining the technical complexities of measuring the very small amounts of C14 present in these ancient samples and why non-zero amounts are measured. I'm a complete non-expert in this field of radiometric dating, but it strikes me reading this how contamination by modern carbon introduced during sample preparation seems to be a severe issue.

I'm wonder whether they've extracted samples under an inert atmosphere and then used laser ablation to ionize samples in their mass spectrometers? I'm probably teaching grandmother to suck eggs, as the old saying goes.

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Getting back to my OP - I feel that some definitive work needs to be done in this area. It's easy to see that the sceptical creationist is simply going to see the scientific response as making excuses for the data instead of holding up some hard data that either explains or explodes the anomaly. Another thing I've heard from creationists is that fossils made by soaking samples in tar pits appear to be extremely old. Of course, the problem is that this process results in contamination with old carbon, making the sample appear older.

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In the case of old samples with almost no C, even the tiniest bit of contamination would make the sample appear far younger.

Always remember that C dating is not a magical process; it is a measure of C and the age interpretation depends on a few assumptions. It's also worth noting that C is only useful for a bit more thanyears.

The vast majority of fossils aren't dated using C at all, but other radioisotopes. Science has several very reasonable explanations for levels of modern carbon in very old samples.

Although this satisfies the scientist, who for all sorts of other reasons quite reasonably assumes that these samples are truly old, it leaves enormous scope for the creationists to reinforce their followers' faith that the earth is young. I still feel that some definitive experiments in this area would be useful to test the various rational explanations for the c14 anomaly.

Carbon Dating Gets a Reset

I can see though that science has problems taking on creationists because of the perceived risk of lending credibility to their ideas. Bit of a dilemma there.

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Also as soon as one creationist idea is exploded, they just move on to another area where uncertainty in the science offers them the opportunity to mislead. That begs the question that an anomaly even exists. What does exist are limits to the applicability of 14 C dating techniques.

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Several of the test results touted by creationists were definitive experiments to assess those limitations. There is no arguing with young earth creationists.

They are immune to logic and evidence. Broadly speaking I agree with you. But, reading the experts' explanations of the "anomaly" read to me, as a non-expert in this field, like perfectly reasonable explanations as long as you accept the "old earth" explanation. If you don't, such dismissive arguments as 'the extra C14 could be due to uranium decay' leave enough wriggle room uncertainty for the creationist to thrive in.

You're right though, I'm probably being naive in thnking they will be convinced. Even so, it is always good when creationists have been casting doubt in some area to be able to completely explode their reasoning. I'm still looking for a reference, in a refereed scientific journal, confirming the finding of carbon14, in any amount, in diamonds or coal.

I suspect, but haven't been able to confirm, that the reports of carbon 14 in these substances have been made up out of whole cloth by Young Earth Creationists, but I am loath to make this claim, absent evidence that reports of these findings haven't been published in any journals that aren't connected with such organizations as the Institute for Creation Science.

I further think that it is the fact that the claims are conscpicuously bogus that has accounted for their not having been responded to.

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