Additional information needed for carbon dating
The problems stemming from temporal variations can be overcome to a large degree by the use of calibration curves in which the carbon-14 content of the sample being dated is plotted against that of objects of known age.
In this way, the deviations can be compensated for and the carbon-14 age of the sample converted to a much more precise date.
His success initiated a series of measurements designed to answer two questions: Is the concentration of carbon-14 uniform throughout the plant and animal kingdoms?
In addition to spatial variations of the carbon-14 level, the question of temporal variation has received much study.
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Willard Libby of the United States began with his recognition that a process that had produced radiocarbon in the laboratory was also going on in Earth’s upper atmosphere—namely, the bombardment of nitrogen by free neutrons.
Newly created carbon-14 atoms were presumed to react with atmospheric oxygen to form ) molecules.