Fun facts about carbon dating
This predictability allows the relative abundances of related nuclides to be used as a clock to measure the time from the incorporation of the original nuclides into a material to the present.
The basic equation of radiometric dating requires that neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product can enter or leave the material after its formation.
The only exceptions are nuclides that decay by the process of electron capture, such as beryllium-7, strontium-85, and zirconium-89, whose decay rate may be affected by local electron density.
For all other nuclides, the proportion of the original nuclide to its decay products changes in a predictable way as the original nuclide decays over time.
This is called “radiocarbon dating,” and it’s been used to determine the age of naturally occurring materials, like plants, rocks, and human remains, as well as things made from naturally occurring materials, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.
Radiocarbon dating was introduced in the 1940s, but it became workable, with standardized methods and widely adopted in the 1950s.
In geology, as well as other scientific disciplines, the epoch of time referred to as “the present” began on January 1, 1950.
Different scientific disciplines, cultures, and religions base their calendars on different “zero” moments.
Together with stratigraphic principles, radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geologic time scale.
Precision is enhanced if measurements are taken on multiple samples from different locations of the rock body.
Alternatively, if several different minerals can be dated from the same sample and are assumed to be formed by the same event and were in equilibrium with the reservoir when they formed, they should form an isochron. In uranium–lead dating, the concordia diagram is used which also decreases the problem of nuclide loss.
Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed.
The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay.
Scientists can then measure the amount of carbon-14 left in the dead thing to determine its approximate age.