Scientific problems with carbon dating
Carbon-14 is first formed when cosmic rays in the atmosphere allow for excess neutrons to be produced, which then react with Nitrogen to produce a constantly replenishing supply of carbon-14 to exchange with organisms.‘Dating is absolutely crucial, it underpins everything,’ says Michael Walker.With the help of new physical and chemical dating methods, scientists are finally beginning to discover how and when archaic species became…well, us.‘The great breakthrough in Quaternary archaeology was radiocarbon dating,’ Walker says.The entire process of Radiocarbon dating depends on the decay of carbon-14.This process begins when an organism is no longer able to exchange Carbon with their environment.Before Radiocarbon dating was able to be discovered, someone had to find the existence of the C isotope.
The technique of radiocarbon dating was developed by Willard Libby and his colleagues at the University of Chicago in 1949.
Once an organism is decoupled from these cycles (i.e., death), then the carbon-14 decays until essentially gone.
The half-life of a radioactive isotope (usually denoted by \(t_\)) is a more familiar concept than \(k\) for radioactivity, so although Equation \(\ref\) is expressed in terms of \(k\), it is more usual to quote the value of \(t_\).
The currently accepted value for the half-life of will remain; a quarter will remain after 11,460 years; an eighth after 17,190 years; and so on.
The equation relating rate constant to half-life for first order kinetics is \[ k = \dfrac \label\] so the rate constant is then \[ k = \dfrac = 1.21 \times 10^ \text^ \label\] and Equation \(\ref\) can be rewritten as \[N_t= N_o e^ \label\] or \[t = \left(\dfrac \right) t_ = 8267 \ln \dfrac = 19035 \log_ \dfrac \;\;\; (\text) \label\] The sample is assumed to have originally had the same (rate of decay) of d/min.g (where d = disintegration).