Radiocarbon dating effects

Radioactive carbon (Carbon 14) is formed in the upper atmosphere as a byproduct of cosmic radiation.Cosmic rays are positively charged atoms moving at enormous speeds.Their results were 'two to three times less accurate than implied by the range of error they stated.' They thought the variations might have been caused by poor laboratory standards allowing contamination of the samples.Some scientists believe the problem runs far deeper than this, as the following quote shows: In the light of what is known about the radiocarbon method and the way it is used, it is truly astonishing that many authors will cite agreeable determinations as "proof" for their beliefs...

Thirty-one of the labs gave results that the British group called unsatisfactory.However, because it has too many neutrons for the number of protons it contains, it is not a stable atom.Every 5,730 years, approximately half of this radioactive carbon spontaneously converts itself back into nitrogen by emitting an electron from a neutron.PROBLEMS WITH RADIOCARBON DATING During the last 30 years, a new method of determining C14/C12 ratios has been developed.It uses accelerator mass spectrometry to determine the amounts of C14 and C12 in a small sample which is vaporised in the test.It is the supposed accuracy of the new method that allows measurements sensitive enough to date objects claimed to be more than twenty or thirty thousand years old.A recent test by the British Science and Engineering Research Council has shown that the accuracy of the new technique is greatly overrated.When they strike ordinary atoms in the upper atmosphere, the cosmic rays smash them apart. Some of these neutrons then collide with nitrogen atoms.This collision is less destructive than the initial collision that produced them.The radioactive carbon has six protons and eight neutrons in its nucleus, giving it a total atomic mass of 14.This atom is not stable, and will break down, releasing nuclear energy in the process.

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