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Carbon 14 dating reliability

Other organic data sets examined have included varves (layers in sedimentary rock which were laid down annually and contain organic materials, deep ocean corals, speleothems (cave deposits), and volcanic tephras; but there are problems with each of these methods.Cave deposits and varves have the potential to include old soil carbon, and there are as-yet unresolved issues with fluctuating amounts of C14 in ocean corals.Reimer and colleagues point out that Int Cal13 is just the latest in calibration sets, and further refinements are to be expected.

Given relatively pristine circumstances, a radiocarbon lab can measure the amount of radiocarbon accurately in a dead organism for as long as 50,000 years ago; after that, there's not enough C14 left to measure. Carbon in the atmosphere fluctuates with the strength of earth's magnetic field and solar activity.

You have to know what the atmospheric carbon level (the radiocarbon 'reservoir') was like at the time of an organism's death, in order to be able to calculate how much time has passed since the organism died.

The half-life of an isotope like C14 is the time it takes for half of it to decay away: in C14, every 5,730 years, half of it is gone.

So, if you measure the amount of C14 in a dead organism, you can figure out how long ago it stopped exchanging carbon with its atmosphere.

It was the first absolute scientific method ever invented: that is to say, the technique was the first to allow a researcher to determine how long ago an organic object died, whether it is in context or not.

Shy of a date stamp on an object, it is still the best and most accurate of dating techniques devised.Reliable estimates are possible, but with large /- factors.As you might imagine, scientists have been attempting to discover other organic objects that can be dated securely steadily since Libby's discovery.Trees maintain carbon 14 equilibrium in their growth rings—and trees produce a ring for every year they are alive.Although we don't have any 50,000-year-old trees, we do have overlapping tree ring sets back to 12,594 years.Radiocarbon dating was invented in the 1950s by the American chemist Willard F.Libby and a few of his students at the University of Chicago: in 1960, he won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the invention.Therefore it should come as no surprise that creationists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have been trying desperately to discredit this method for years.They have their work cut out for them, however, because radiocarbon (C-14) dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods.The latest curves were ratified at the 21st International Radiocarbon Conference in July of 2012.Within the last few years, a new potential source for further refining radiocarbon curves is Lake Suigetsu in Japan.

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