Does carbon 13 dating work


16-Feb-2017 13:39

Carbon from these sources is very low in C-14 because these sources are so old and have not been mixed with fresh carbon from the air.Thus, a freshly killed mussel has far less C-14 than a freshly killed something else, which is why the C-14 dating method makes freshwater mussels seem older than they really are.The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.

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So, if we measure the rate of beta decay in an organic sample, we can calculate how old the sample is. Question: Kieth and Anderson radiocarbon-dated the shell of a living freshwater mussel and obtained an age of over two thousand years.

When dating wood there is no such problem because wood gets its carbon straight from the air, complete with a full dose of C-14.

The creationists who quote Kieth and Anderson never tell you this, however.

Preserved leaves in the cores — “they look fresh as if they’ve fallen very recently”, Bronk Ramsey says — yielded 651 carbon dates that could be compared to the calendar dates of the sediment they were found in.

The recalibrated clock won’t force archaeologists to abandon old measurements wholesale, says Bronk Ramsey, but it could help to narrow the window of key events in human history.“If you’re trying to look at archaeological sites at the order of 30,000 or 40,000 years ago, the ages may shift by only a few hundred years but that may be significant in putting them before or after changes in climate,” he says.Take the extinction of Neanderthals, which occurred in western Europe less than 30,000 years ago.The clock was initially calibrated by dating objects of known age such as Egyptian mummies and bread from Pompeii; work that won Willard Libby the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.