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Carbon dating criticism

Obviously, if the substance you are measuring is contaminated, then all you know is the age since contamination, or worse, you don't know anything, because the contamination might be in the opposite direction - suppose, for example, you're looking at radio carbon (carbon 14, which is produced in the atmosphere by cosmic rays, and which decays into nitrogen).

One of the elements that can stand in chemically for zircon is uranium.It is commonly used in earth science to determine the age of rock formations or features or to figure out how fast geologic processes take place (for example, how fast marine terraces on Santa Cruz island are being uplifted).Radiometric dating relies on the principle of radioactive decay.For an example of how geologists use radiometric dating, read on: A geologist can pick up a rock from a mountainside somewhere, and bring it back to the lab, and separate out the individual minerals that compose the rock.They can then look at a single mineral, and using an instrument called a mass spectrometer, they can measure the amount of parent and the amount of daughter in that mineral.We have also obtained a very similar age by measuring Pb isotopes in materials from earth.I should mention that the decay constants (basically a value that indicates how fast a certain radioactive isotope will decay) for some of these isotope systems were calculated by assuming that the age of the earth is 4.56 billion years, meaning that we will also calculate an age of 4.56 billion years if we use that decay constant.For example, a problem I have worked on involving the eruption of a volcano at what is now Naples, Italy, occurred 38500 years ago with a plus or minus of 300 years.So, when the materials are appropriate and one carefully avoids contamination and re setting radiometric clocks can be VERY ACCURATE.Answer 2: Yes, radiometric dating is a very accurate way to date the Earth.We know it is accurate because radiometric dating is based on the radioactive decay of unstable isotopes.


  1. May 5, 2010. In theory it would never totally disappear, but after about 5 half-lives the difference is not measurable with any degree of accuracy. This is why most people say carbon dating is only good for objects less than 40,000 years old. Nothing on earth carbon dates in the millions of years, because the scope of.

  2. Aug 13, 2016. Charcoal and bones are favorites among archaeologists as carbon dating candidates. Although they are often dated, the accuracy of their age estimates is in question. J. Van der Merwe reported “Charcoal which is buried in the ground is subject to contamination by rootlets, carbonates, and humic acid.

  3. However, careful measurements of the carbon-13 isotope refuted this criticism. See Snelling, A. A. Dating dilemma fossil wood in 'ancient' sandstone, Creation 21339–41, 1999. Return to text. Wasserburg, G. J. Isotopic abundances inferences on solar system and planetary evolution, Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters.

  4. Because carbon-14 decays relatively rapidly compared to other isotopes, it can only be used to date things that are less than 60,000 years old. Anything older would have so little carbon-14 left that you couldn't accurately measure it. However, the rapid decay allows precise dating - accuracy within just a couple decades.

  5. Laboratories using the decay-measuring method claim they can analyze several grams of carbon with a typical accuracy of ±40-150 years, and a maximum range of 30-40,000 years. Like other radiometric methods, radiocarbon dating faces technical problems and operates under some questionable assumptions.

  6. Speaking of my research as far as it affects the radiocarbon dating method, I would like to separate the finds concerning natural events Worlds in Collision, Earth in Upheaval from finds concerning. A similar criticism appeared in the article by astronomer Edmondson, who cited the Indiana University geologist, J. B. Patton.

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