Radiocarbon dating pitfalls

In fact, many important archaeological artifacts have been dated using this method including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.

For over 50 years, scientists and researchers have relied on carbon dating to find the exact age of organic matter.C is a cosmogenic radionuclide that is formed continuously but not quite at a constant rate by the reaction of thermal neutrons with atmospheric nitrogen: It was the work of Willard Libby and his co-workers at the Institute for Nuclear Studies and Department of Chemistry at the University of Chicago that led to the development of the radiocarbon dating technique ( is taken up by green plants in the terrestrial biosphere and converted to carbohydrates by the process of photosynthesis.Subsequent consumption of plants by animals (and animals by other animals) transfers the C enrichment between the well mixed atmosphere and the terrestrial flora and fauna that atmospheric carbon supports, provided that due corrections are made for the degree of isotopic fractionation that takes place during the initial uptake and subsequent metabolic fixation of atmospheric carbon by the primary producers (plant life) and thereafter, any isotopic fractionation that occurs during subsequent transport through the food chain.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.

Search for radiocarbon dating pitfalls:

radiocarbon dating pitfalls-36radiocarbon dating pitfalls-61radiocarbon dating pitfalls-29radiocarbon dating pitfalls-60

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “radiocarbon dating pitfalls”