Knowing that C14 degrades into nitrogen at a known rate and organisms do not take in C14 once they’re dead, then it logically follows that the presence of C14 in a dead organism will decrease over time.Therefore, by measuring the amount of C14 in an organism, it can be known how long ago it lived with high C14 remains representing a recent age and lower C14 remains representing an older age. There are in essence, two different forms of carbon dating: the original conventional methods and the more recent AMS (Accelerated Mass Spectrometry).These cosmic rays release free neutrons which zip around our nitrogen rich atmosphere at high velocities.

dendrochronology absolute dating method-2

-C14 concentrations exist in all parts of the biosphere. -There has been complete and rapid mixing of C14 throughout the various carbon reservoirs on a worldwide basis. All these assumptions can be summarized as follows: 1) C14 production in the atmosphere is constant.

-The death of a plant or animal, is the point at which it no longer exchanges C14 with the environment. -Carbon isotope ratios have not been altered except by that of C14 decay. 2) C14 rapidly mixes and is spread evenly throughout the biosphere. 6) C14 decay rates and formation rates are in equilibrium.

Yet, as simple and straightforward as this seems, the process of dating objects via radiocarbon is far from simple and straightforward.

Here I will present what radiocarbon is, the dating methods, the assumptions that govern them, and the known discrepancies that plague the method.

For example, when lime absorbs CO2 it creates mortar, so the mortar can be dated via radiocarbon since some CO2 molecules are comprised of C14 (Bowman, 13).

But in general, non-organic materials usually cannot be dated via radiocarbon.

This is a common misunderstanding the general layman has of radiocarbon dating that is important to clarify.

What makes C14 significant is that it is an unstable atom.

-After ceasing exchange, C14 levels are only modified by radio decay. 3) Carbon ratios are only altered by C14 decay after an organism dies. In order for radiocarbon to be effective in dating objects of antiquity, these assumptions must be true.