Carbon Dating

This entry is part 15 of 219 in the series Inquiring Minds
Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Do you believe carbon dating is accurate?

Carbon dating is a process used by scientists and archaeologists to determine the age of artifacts. It’s good at some things but it’s not good at others. It requires that the atmosphere contain a consistent condition to be accurate.

I did a little research and found out that after 50,000 years it loses its accuracy. And there are other ways to determine the age of things that are older than that. It can be very useful with artifacts, though. It helps us determine how old something is.

Carbon dating is only useful for organic materials. These materials must contain carbon in them or it can’t be used. It measures the half-life of the carbon 14 molecule. Using the half-life, we can figure out with fair accuracy when the organic artifact existed.

The problem with carbon dating is that it loses its accuracy after 50,000 years. Without an accurate carbon footprint, there is no way for us to know how old something is. Using it for anything over that timeframe produces inaccurate results.

This makes it most useful for archaeologists. When they find artifacts carbon dating is very helpful in at least getting them close to the age of the artifact. The only other problem with carbon dating is that it also relies on the atmosphere remaining the same to be accurate.

If any more radiation or other particles get into the atmosphere, carbon dating can become inaccurate even within those 50,000 years. It may be a good test to begin with, but it should be followed up with other tests that may be more accurate to date objects.

Further Resources

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