How is carbon 14 used in radiocarbon dating
An attempt to explain this very important method of dating and the way in which, when fully understood, it supports a ‘short’ timescale.
In fact, the whole method is a giant ‘clock’ which seems to put a very young upper limit on the age of the atmosphere.
magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this.For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles below.Obviously this only works for things which once contained carbon—it can’t be used to date rocks and minerals, for example. We obviously need to know this to be able to work out at what point the ‘clock’ began to tick.We’ve seen that it would have been the same as in the atmosphere at the time the specimen died. Do scientists assume that it was the same as it is now? It is well known that the industrial revolution, with its burning of huge masses of coal, etc.has upset the natural carbon balance by releasing huge quantities of C ratio was like before the industrial revolution, and all radiocarbon dating is made with this in mind.
How do we know what the ratio was before then, though, say thousands of years ago?