Carbon dating pitfalls

Back in February, my friend Kyle posted the most offensive blog I’ve read thus far this year!Actually, as you’ll see, it wasn’t really HER sentiments that offended but rather, the sentiments of random weirdos who contact her via her blog (unfortunately one of the pitfalls of blogging is that you’re “out there” in the cyber world and anyone, anywhere can contact you to say pretty much anything).Offering in 1952 his new radiocarbon method for calculating the age of organic material (the time interval since the plant or the animal died), W. Libby clearly saw the limitations of the method and the conditions under which his theoretical figures would be valid: A.Of the three reservoirs of radiocarbon on earththe atmosphere, the biosphere, and the hydrosphere, the richest is the lastthe oceans with the seas.

Then there’s the mention that only women who have zero luck in the States run off to South America to try their hand at love, but that too will backfire since men here treat women pretty much the same way they did in the 1800s. Click on the link and read her blog for yourself then get back to me (or her) about how appalled you are.Suess explained the phenomenon by the fact that the increased industrial use of fossil carbon in coal and in oil changed the ratio between the dead carbon C12 and the C14 (radiocarbon) in the atmosphere and therefore also in the biosphere.In centuries to come a body of a man or animal who lived and died in the 20th century would appear paradoxically of greater age since death than the body of a man or animal of the 19th century, and if the process of industrial use of fossil, therefore dead, carbon continues to increase, as it is expected will be the case, the paradox will continue into the forthcoming centuries.The correctness of the method depends greatly on the condition that in the last 40 or 50 thousand years the quantity of water in the hydrosphere (and carbon diluted in it) has not substantially changed. The method depends also on the condition that during the same period of time the influx of cosmic rays or energy particles coming from the stars and the sun has not suffered substantial variations.To check on the method before applying it on various historical and paleontological material, Libby chose material of Egyptian archaeology, under the assumption that no other historical material from over 2,000 years ago is so secure as to its absolute dating.

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