How far back can carbon dating accurately be used

Carbon Dating Gets a Reset

Because of the short length of the carbon half-life, carbon dating is only accurate for items that are thousands to tens of thousands of years old.

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Most rocks of interest are much older than this. Geologists must therefore use elements with longer half-lives. For instance, potassium decaying to argon has a half-life of 1. Geologists measure the abundance of these radioisotopes instead to date rocks. Scientific statements need to be backed up by actual data. Well, I think you are putting the cart before the horse.

Forget your miffed dismissal of the current thought on the history of the universe. You postulate that the laws of physics may not be constant. The next step, using the scientific method, would be to come up with an experiment that would elicit a recordable change.

In this specific case, try to manipulate the environment around a radioactive element to effect a change in the half-life constant. Now take that to the next step, to effect such a change you would need to effect the Weak Force directly within an atom or group of atoms. So a revised, and more scientific, of your OP would be: Can the Weak Force within an atom be effected? Are half-life constants truely constant? I have no idea what the answer is off the top of my head, but my intelligent guess says that this topic has already been researched and literature exists on it.

It was no doubt an important question when dating first took off. I find ranty non-scientific curt dismissals of theories with this sort of attitude half baked and highly aggravating. It's like a little kid turning their nose up their parent cause they think they know better. Originally posted by BuckG: Grrr Very much so.

It's even more aggravating when you look at the attitude that it tends to come with: Therefore, I am actually considering more than you are , which makes me better than you mere "scientists". I don't care if I have no idea how you could be wrong, I am smarter merely by suggesting you are mistaken.

Fair enough, instead of opinionating, we'll just stick with the data from here on out. As it should be. Therefore, I am actually considering more than you are, which makes me better than you mere "scientists". As Hat Monster already pointed out, if these things were only slightly different from what they are now, the universe would be a vastly different place.

There was a special on PBS about the universe, particles, strign theory, etc that covered this topic quite well. Basically, by making even a small change in any fundamental particle, the whole puzzle gets tossed out the window. A good number of the subatomic particles we know about were calculated mathematically before they were ever discovered via observation. Heck, this is exactly why we are building the LHC.

I don't think it was The Elegant Universe, but it could have been. Thanks to relativity or, even without it, for a paragraph or two, just observing that there is a speed of light of such-and-so velocity , we can observe the heavens and realize that observing the heavens is also viewing a time machine. Astrophysics is not my discipline, to say the least, but even though a lot of what we look at it very large, many important things we observe are all still driven by physics.

How Accurate is Carbon Dating?

If the basic constants of the universe weren't, in fact, constant, we'd observe effects out there in deep space or maybe not so deep space that would be inexplicable. If we add relativity to the mix, we have even less reason to expect to see this and, in fact we don't.

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Because time is relative. No two particles who might have come into existence long after the big bang have any idea of what "time" it "really is". So, they don't know when to behave according to different laws of phyiscs than those we observe today. It isn't because today is so magical, then, but rather because it isn't "today" everywhere in the universe that allows us to conclude that what physicists claim are constants in terms of particle physics and so on are as they say they are.

And, actual observations back that up. This is all the more remarkable given that we can observe at energy levels and wavelengths that are beyond our ability to directly see. I suppose we can never know the unknowable, or prove the unprovable. All we can do is measure things.

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How far can you go back in time, and assume an accurate sample with carbon dating? It seems limited, how can an observer know the state of. Radiocarbon dating is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic In addition to permitting more accurate dating within archaeological sites than accelerator and soon discovered that the atom's half-life was far longer than . C decays at a known rate, the proportion of radiocarbon can be used to.

If the measurements prove useful, and allow us to manipulate matter for our own good, so much the better. It's all we have, and anything else is mere conjecture. There's lots of big things out there we're now pretty sure that many galaxies have black holes and the core, quazars, pulsars, and a host of other things that exhibit very gross physical phenomena of various sort that, with work, we can observe here today.

We can observe them, moreover, at several distances from us, and these distances are relative to us large in years. I don't know how you work these things out given relativity, but it is exceedingly likely that they are large in time relative to each other as well which, in several individual instances, is capable of "good enough proof for this discussion" no doubt, such as being in radically different directions from us. Yet, the astrophysicists who examine all of this stuff tell us the same laws of physics applies everywhere and therefore every when they look.

Expertise. Insights. Illumination.

The Holocene , the current geological epoch, begins about 11, years ago, when the Pleistocene ends. Equilibrium is the name given to the point when the rate of carbon production and carbon decay are equal. Observable gravitational lensing pretty much agrees with relativity. Thanks to relativity or, even without it, for a paragraph or two, just observing that there is a speed of light of such-and-so velocity , we can observe the heavens and realize that observing the heavens is also viewing a time machine. The ratio of 14 C to 12 C is approximately 1.

So, that's why we don't have to worry about it all changing. Observation and ordinary logic tells us that there is no variability. So, while we might enjoy speculating about it, if it actually happened, we would be seeing the variability, because some of these effects that we can, in fact, see, would not be behaving according to today's laws either thousands or even millions of years ago, depending on what the scientists are looking at. Originally posted by ZeroZanzibar: What if the change itself also propagates at the speed of light?

The change could be trailing or preceding our ability to detect it in every case, due to the very same reason we are able to "look into the past" in the first place. The answer simply, the answer is "No and yes". You see, if you mess with the weak force, you automatically then have to mess with the electromagnetic force, since they're interrelated electroweak unification. Just altering the weak force by a tiny amount throws out everything.

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Which means you get no protons, no neutrons, no electrons, no atoms. We see a relic of a tremendously hot surface, the Cosmic Microwave Background. Not only that, but the CMB is everywhere, so everywhere was once emitting the CMB at a phenomenal temperature a very long time ago. The CMB is normal photons, which means neither the weak force nor the electromagnetic force were any different in magnitude or sign that far back all across the universe.

If they were, we wouldn't have had photons. We do have photons, hence they were not. The weak force has not changed during the history of the solar system. Actually, the first answer is also "yes" - until "effected" becomes "affected" quote: More precisely, we can put limits on how much it could have changed - and it's pretty damn small.

Radiocarbon dating

Sadly not, or at the very least, facing an utter lack of supporting evidence. Electron capture is a much more viable hypothesis than fudging around with a fundamental force. Originally posted by bantha: This surface is what we see in the cosmic microwave background Hat mentioned earlier, and reconciles quite well with current particle theory without altering the electroweak force. The change could be trailing or preceding our ability to detect it in every case, due to the very same reason we are able to "look into the past" in the first place I don't think this works.

We would have opportunities to detect it in various ways. For one thing, there are a very small number of blue shifted entities entities that are coming toward us instead of going away that should be a problem for such a hypothesis. Relativity probably also creates problems for it in a similar fashion.

As it stands, the thesis is vulnerable to being shown, in some fashion of this sort, to be a privileged frame of reference argument.

Radiometric Dating Debunked in 3 Minutes

That is, treating our location as having magical properties. As you state it, not quite so, but I think there's enough going on and we can observe enough directionality in the universe that we'd see some pretty strong hints if constants varied in that fashion. Additionally, not every particle existed at the big bang. They can be created and destroyed yet preserving the conservation laws. How do they know, then, what time it is and how to be properly elongated? In what frame of reference are they to be elongated? Towards us only privileged frame problems or toward some other body with a different relativistic velocity in another direction?

How can it have different elongations of the constants towards different bodies? Physics major, but in the end, I don't think this works.

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Or, if it does, it will take the next Einstein to explain it. I suppose this is only tangentially related, but it's a question I've been thinking about for a while now, and I don't think it's worth its own thread. I think the place to look for evidence for that the cosmic background radiation is differentiated in some way.

Other materials can present the same problem: A separate issue, related to re-use, is that of lengthy use, or delayed deposition.