Carbon dating for dummies

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In fact, research has been conducted which suggests that nuclear tests may have doubled the concentration of C-14 in this time, compared to natural production by cosmic rays. If you’d like more info on Carbon Dating, check out NASA’s Virtual Dating: Isochron and Radiocarbon – Geology Labs On-line, and here’s a link to USGS Radiometric Dating Page.

Nevertheless, it remains the most accurate means of dating the scientific community has discovered so far. We’ve also recorded an entire episode of Astronomy Cast all about How Carbon Dating Works.

It is naturally radioactive and unstable, and will therefore spontaneously decay back into N-14 over a period of time.

This property makes it especially useful in a process known as “radiocarbon dating”, or carbon dating for short.

Because the radiocarbon is radioactive, it will slowly decay away.

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.

To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

Radiocarbon dating is one of the most widely used scientific dating methods in archaeology and environmental science.

It can be applied to most organic materials and spans dates from a few hundred years ago right back to about 50,000 years ago - about when modern humans were first entering Europe.

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