Sources of error in radiocarbon dating

(The electrons are so much lighter that they do not contribute significantly to the mass of an atom.) C), also referred to as radiocarbon, is claimed to be a reliable dating method for determining the age of fossils up to 50,000 to 60,000 years.

Atoms are made up of much smaller particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons.

The variation is certainly partially the result of a change in the cosmic ray production rate of radiocarbon.

The cosmic-ray flux, and hence the production rate of C-14, is a function not only of the solar activity but also of the magnetic dipole moment of the Earth.4Though complex, this history of the earth’s magnetic field agrees with Barnes’ basic hypothesis, that the field has always freely decayed....

The illustration below shows the three isotopes of carbon.

Some isotopes of certain elements are unstable; they can spontaneously change into another kind of atom in a process called “radioactive decay.” Since this process presently happens at a known measured rate, scientists attempt to use it like a “clock” to tell how long ago a rock or fossil formed.

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