Radiocarbon dating vs carbon dating

09-Dec-2016 07:23 by 2 Comments

Radiocarbon dating vs carbon dating

For instance, creationist Walt Brown has pointed out inconsistencies in some radiocarbon dates of mammoths -- one part was dated to 40,000 years, another to 26,000 years (and wood surrounding it to 10,000 years), and yet another to between 15,000 and 21,000 years before the present epoch [Brown2001].

Here is a graph showing radiocarbon dates on the vertical axis and the calibrated age on the horizontal axis (shown here with permission from Johannes van der Plicht, one of the authors of the 2009 study).

The relative width of the red calibration curve indicates the range of uncertainty: In October 2012, a team led by Christopher Ramsey of Oxford University published a new study, based on analyses of varves (alternating light/dark bands in sediments) from Lake Suigetsu, which is located about 350 kilometers west of Tokyo, near the coast of the Sea of Japan.

These researchers collected core samples 70 meters deep, and then painstakingly counted the layers, year by year, to obtain a direct record stretching back 52,000 years.

By allowing the establishment of geological timescales, it provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and the deduced rates of evolutionary change.

Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.

Creationists often criticize radiocarbon dating in the context of discussions of the age of the earth.

But, as is clear even from the very brief discussion in the previous paragraph, radiocarbon dating can say nothing one way or the other about whether the earth is many millions of years old, since such dates are far beyond this method's range of resolution.Different methods of radiometric dating vary in the timescale over which they are accurate and the materials to which they can be applied.All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements, each with its own atomic number, indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus.In other words, those hoping that uncertainties in radiocarbon dating, say in the assumption of constancy of atmospheric carbon-14 levels, will mean that specimens are really much younger than the measured dates, are in for a big disappointment -- it is now clear that specimens are actually somewhat older than the raw, uncalibrated reckonings.As mentioned above, young-earth creationist writers have cited various anomalies and potential difficulties with radiocarbon dating, and have used these examples to justify their conclusion that the entire scheme is flawed and unreliable.Because of this relatively short half-life, radiocarbon is useful for dating items of a relatively recent vintage, as far back as roughly 50,000 years before the present epoch.