Carbon dating age of rock


Question: A sample that is more than fifty thousand years old shouldn't have any measurable C-14. Radiocarbon dating doesn't work well on objects much older than twenty thousand years, because such objects have so little C-14 left that their beta radiation is swamped out by the background radiation of cosmic rays and potassium-40 (K-40) decay. this isotope [K-40] accounts for a large part of the normal background radiation that can be detected on the earth's surface" (p. This radiation cannot be totally eliminated from the laboratory, so one could probably get a "radiocarbon" date of fifty thousand years from a pure carbon-free piece of tin.

Coal, oil, and natural gas are supposed to be millions of years old; yet creationists say that some of them contain measurable amounts of C-14, enough to give them C-14 ages in the tens of thousands of years. Younger objects can easily be dated, because they still emit plenty of beta radiation, enough to be measured after the background radiation has been subtracted out of the total beta radiation. However, you now know why this fact doesn't at all invalidate radiocarbon dates of objects younger than twenty thousand years and is certainly no evidence for the notion that coals and oils might be no older than fifty thousand years.

When dating wood there is no such problem because wood gets its carbon straight from the air, complete with a full dose of C-14.

The creationists who quote Kieth and Anderson never tell you this, however.

Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms." When molten rock cools, forming what are called igneous rocks, radioactive atoms are trapped inside. By measuring the quantity of unstable atoms left in a rock and comparing it to the quantity of stable daughter atoms in the rock, scientists can estimate the amount of time that has passed since that rock formed.

Fossils are generally found in sedimentary rock — not igneous rock.

Ionization Inverse Square Law Interaction of RT/Matter Attenuation Coefficient Half-Value Layer Sources of Attenuation -Compton Scattering Geometric Unsharpness Filters in Radiography Scatter/Radiation Control Radiation Safety Radio-carbon dating is a method of obtaining age estimates on organic materials.

The word "estimates" is used because there is a significant amount of uncertainty in these measurements.

Therefore it should come as no surprise that creationists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have been trying desperately to discredit this method for years.ICR creationists claim that this discredits C-14 dating. Answer: It does discredit the C-14 dating of freshwater mussels, but that's about all.Kieth and Anderson show considerable evidence that the mussels acquired much of their carbon from the limestone of the waters they lived in and from some very old humus as well.The method was developed immediately following World War II by Willard F.Libby and coworkers and has provided age determinations in archeology, geology, geophysics, and other branches of science.Scientists date igneous rock using elements that are slow to decay, such as uranium and potassium.

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