Carbon dating and reliability
Carbon dating and reliability - Adult Chat Rooms
The following article is primarily based on a discussion of radiocarbon dating found in The Biblical Chronologist Volume 5, Number 1. Radiocarbon dating is based on a few relatively simple principles. The vast majority of these are C (pronounced "c twelve"), the stable isotope of carbon.However, cosmic radiation constantly collides with atoms in the upper atmosphere.
Radiocarbon is not stable; over time radiocarbon atoms decay into nitrogen atoms.Thus the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in living animal tissue is also virtually the same as the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in the atmosphere at any given time.This ratio is the same for all organisms across the globe at a given time due to the mixing of the atmosphere mentioned above.When an organism dies (whether plant or animal) its intake of carbon atoms ceases.This tendency to decay, called radioactivity, is what gives radiocarbon the name radiocarbon.The atmosphere contains many stable carbon atoms and relatively few radiocarbon atoms.
The ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon atoms in the atmosphere has varied in the past.
This is because the amount and strength of cosmic radiation entering the earth's atmosphere has varied over time.
(This, in turn, is caused by variations in the magnetic fields of the earth and sun, for example.) Although the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in the atmosphere has varied over time, it is quite uniform around the globe at any given time because the atmosphere mixes very quickly and constantly.
Plants obtain all their carbon atoms from the atmosphere.
Thus, the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in a living plant is the same as the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in the atmosphere at any given time.
Animals (and humans) get their carbon atoms primarily from what they eat (i.e., plants).