Carbon 14 dating controversy

It takes another 5,730 for half of the remainder to decay, and then another 5,730 for half of what's left then to decay and so on.

It is naturally unstable and so it will spontaneously decay back into N-14 after a period of time.

It takes about 5,730 years for half of a sample of radiocarbon to decay back into nitrogen.

And yet we know that "radiocarbon is forming 28-37% faster than it is decaying," which means it hasn't yet reached equilibrium, which means the ratio is higher today than it was in the unobservable past.

We also know that the ratio decreased during the industrial revolution due to the dramatic increase of CO produced by factories.

C-14 is produced in the upper atmosphere when nitrogen-14 (N-14) is altered through the effects of cosmic radiation bombardment (a proton is displaced by a neutron effectively changing the nitrogen atom into a carbon isotope).

The new isotope is called "radiocarbon" because it is radioactive, though it is not dangerous.

However, there is strong evidence which suggests that radioactive decay may have been greatly accelerated in the unobservable past.

We must also assume that the ratio of C-12 to C-14 in the atmosphere has remained constant throughout the unobservable past (so we can know what the ratio was at the time of the specimen's death).

After about 10 half-lives, the amount of radiocarbon left becomes too miniscule to measure and so this technique isn't useful for dating specimens which died more than 60,000 years ago.

Tags: , ,