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Disadvantages of carbon 14 dating

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Radiation counters are used to detect the electrons given off by decaying C-14 as it turns into nitrogen.

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Desmond Clark (1979) wrote that were it not for radiocarbon dating, "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation" (Clark, 1979:7).There are three principal isotopes of carbon which occur naturally - C12, C13 (both stable) and C14 (unstable or radioactive).These isotopes are present in the following amounts C12 - 98.89%, C13 - 1.11% and C14 - 0.00000000010%.Writing of the European Upper Palaeolithic, Movius (1960) concluded that "time alone is the lens that can throw it into focus".The radiocarbon method was developed by a team of scientists led by the late Professor Willard F.Libby of the University of Chicago in immediate post-WW2 years.

Libby later received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960: (From Taylor, 1987).

Ionization Inverse Square Law Interaction of RT/Matter Attenuation Coefficient Half-Value Layer Sources of Attenuation -Compton Scattering Geometric Unsharpness Filters in Radiography Scatter/Radiation Control Radiation Safety Radio-carbon dating is a method of obtaining age estimates on organic materials.

The word "estimates" is used because there is a significant amount of uncertainty in these measurements.

Thus, one carbon 14 atom exists in nature for every 1,000,000,000,000 C12 atoms in living material.

The radiocarbon method is based on the rate of decay of the radioactive or unstable carbon isotope 14 (14C), which is formed in the upper atmosphere through the effect of cosmic ray neutrons upon nitrogen 14.

After the organism dies, carbon-14 continues to decay without being replaced.