Carbon 14 dating explanation
What methods do they use and how do these methods work?
In this article, we will examine the methods by which scientists use radioactivity to determine the age of objects, most notably carbon-14 dating.
Libby knew that C was entering and leaving the atmosphere (and hence the carbon cycle).
It is assumed that the ratio has been constant for a very long time before the industrial revolution. (For on it hangs the whole validity of the system.) Why did W. Libby, the brilliant discoverer of this system, assume this?Imagine a tank with water flowing in at a certain rate, and flowing out again at the same rate (see diagram below). If you saw it for the first time, you wouldn’t be able to work out how old it was—how long it had been since it was ‘switched on’. Imagine the same tank, this time it is not yet full and the top tap is flowing more quickly than the bottom one is leaking out—this gives you a way of measuring how long ago the whole system was ‘switched on’ and it also tells you that that can’t have been too long ago (see diagram above).Libby knew that if these figures were correct, it would mean that the atmosphere was young, so he dismissed the results as being due to experimental error!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.A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2,000 years ago.