How accurate carbon dating

The half-life of carbon is 5,730 years, which means that it will take this amount of time for it to reduce from 100g of carbon to 50g – exactly half its original amount.

Similarly, it will take another 5,730 years for the amount of carbon to drop to 25g, and so on and so forth.

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And finally, we must assume that there hasn't been any contamination in the specimen which we are attempting to date.

Scientific research has called the first two assumptions into question.

By testing the amount of carbon stored in an object, and comparing to the original amount of carbon Unfortunately, the believed amount of carbon present at the time of expiration is exactly that: a belief, an assumption, an estimate.

It is very difficult for scientists to know how much carbon would have originally been present; one of the ways in which they have tried to overcome this difficulty was through using carbon equilibrium.

I'm confident that we can improve the accuracy of carbon dating somewhat, but only if we acknowledge and carefully study the various factors which may play a role in how reliable our foundational assumptions are.

In order for carbon dating to by accurate certain foundational assumptions must first be true.

Since the universe is estimated to be millions of years old, it was assumed that this equilibrium had already been reached.

However, in the 1960s, the growth rate was found to be significantly higher than the decay rate; almost a third in fact.

Half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for an object to lose exactly half of the amount of carbon (or other element) stored in it.

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