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Radiometric dating accuracy

Climate records from a Japanese lake are set to improve the accuracy of the dating technique, which could help to shed light on archaeological mysteries such as why Neanderthals became extinct.Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material — in effect, any living thing.Two distinct sediment layers have formed in the lake every summer and winter over tens of thousands of years.The researchers collected roughly 70-metre core samples from the lake and painstakingly counted the layers to come up with a direct record stretching back 52,000 years.Archaeologists vehemently disagree over the effects changing climate and competition from recently arriving humans had on the Neanderthals' demise.The more accurate carbon clock should yield better dates for any overlap of humans and Neanderthals, as well as for determining how climate changes influenced the extinction of Neanderthals.As a rule, carbon dates are younger than calendar dates: a bone carbon-dated to 10,000 years is around 11,000 years old, and 20,000 carbon years roughly equates to 24,000 calendar years.The problem, says Bronk Ramsey, is that tree rings provide a direct record that only goes as far back as about 14,000 years.

We take the radiometric dates, along with stratigraphy (I know, dated radiometrically), the specific fossil species in a rock (I know, dated radiometrically) and come up with a date. Because although not perfect, it is the best tool we have.

Sure, they exist, but are probably in the minority.

Unfortunately, these are the ones that the young earth creationist will single out and attack, because of their assumptions that the techniques are perfect.

By measuring the ratio of the radio isotope to non-radioactive carbon, the amount of carbon-14 decay can be worked out, thereby giving an age for the specimen in question.

But that assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock.

133 comments

  1. Young-Earth creationists -- that is, creationists who believe that Earth is no more than 10,000 years old -- are fond of attacking radiometric dating methods as being full of inaccuracies and riddled with sources of error. When I first became interested in the creation-evolution debate, in late 1994, I looked around for sources.

  2. May 31, 1990. In some cases, the latter ratio appears to be a much more accurate gauge of age than the customary method of carbon dating, the scientists said. In principle, any material of plant or animal origin, including textiles, wood, bones and leather, can be dated by its content of carbon 14, a radioactive form of.

  3. Jan 30, 2003. Can we rely on radiometric dating techniques? How accurate are they? First, I'll start by referring you to an extensive article on the young earth creation science website Answers in Genesis, titled "What About Carbon Dating?" While Carbon-14 is in the title, the article talks about many forms of dating.

  4. Jun 8, 2012. The quick answer is no. As mentioned in the article about assumptions, when test results do not measure in accordance with the expected long ages, then the specimens are discarded and assumed to be contaminated. A 200 year old lava rock from recently erupted volcano has been measured using the.

  5. The various confounding factors that can adversely affect the accuracy of carbon-14 dating methods are evident in many of the other radioisotope dating methods. Although the half-life of some of them are more consistent with the evolutionary worldview of millions to billions of years, the assumptions used in radiometric.

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