How can isotopes be used in dating archaeological finds
These artifacts have gone through many carbon-14 half-lives, and the amount of carbon-14 remaining in them is miniscule and very difficult to detect.Carbon dating cannot be used on most fossils, not only because they are almost always allegedly too old, but also because they rarely contain the original carbon of the organism that has been fossilized.This rules out carbon dating for most aquatic organisms, because they often obtain at least some of their carbon from dissolved carbonate rock.The age of the carbon in the rock is different from that of the carbon in the air and makes carbon dating data for those organisms inaccurate under the assumptions normally used for carbon dating.But now archaeologists studying, say, the development of agriculture across the continents are able to determine how different societies stacked up against one another throughout the millennia.Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50,000 years old.For example, it makes it possible to compare the ages of objects on a worldwide scale, allowing for indispensible comparisons across the globe.
Carbon-14 cannot be used to date biological artifacts of organisms that did not get their carbon dioxide from the air.Carbon-14 dating has been used successfully on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Minoan ruins and tombs of the pharaohs among other things. The half-life of carbon-14 is approximately 5,730 years. dinosaurs the evolution alleges lived millions of years ago.Levels of carbon-14 become difficult to measure and compare after about 50,000 years (between 8 and 9 half lives; where 1% of the original carbon-14 would remain undecayed).Also, many fossils are contaminated with carbon from the environment during collection or preservation procedures.
Scientists attempt to check the accuracy of carbon dating by comparing carbon dating data to data from other dating methods.Fortunately, Willard Libby, a scientist who would later win the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, developed the process known as radiocarbon dating in the late 1940s. In a nutshell, it works like this: After an organism dies, it stops absorbing carbon-14, so the radioactive isotope starts to decay and is not replenished.