Radiocarbon dating methodology

-counting method) or by directly counting the radiocarbon atoms using a method called Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS).

Measurement of the radioactivity of the sample works very well if the sample is large, but in 9 months less than 0.01% of the radiocarbon ions will decay, so in a reasonable measurement time (typically a few weeks) only a very small proportion of the radiocarbon atoms are detected by this method.

In common with other kinds of mass spectrometry, AMS is performed by converting the atoms in the sample into a beam of fast moving ions (charged atoms).

The mass of these ions is then measured by the application of magnetic and electric fields.

The other is that the cosmic ray flux has been essentially constant—at least on a scale of centuries.7-69 To which we might add the assumption of the constancy of the rate of decay of the carbon 14 atoms, the assumption that dead organic matter is not later altered with respect to its carbon content by any biologic or other activity the assumption that the carbon dioxide content of the ocean and atmosphere has been constant with time, the assumption that the huge reservoir of oceanic carbon has not changed in size during the period of applicability of the method, and the assumption that the rate of formation and the rate of decay of radiocarbon atoms have been in equilibrium throughout the period of applicability.

Every one of these assumptions is highly questionable in the context of the events of Creation and the Deluge.

One is that the carbon 14 concentration in the carbon dioxide cycle is constant.Before more precise absolute dating tools were possible, researchers used a variety of comparative approaches called relative dating.These methods — some of which are still used today — provide only an approximate spot within a previously established sequence: Think of it as ordering rather than dating.Sometimes only one method is possible, reducing the confidence researchers have in the results. “They’re based on ‘it’s that old because I say so,’ a popular approach by some of my older colleagues,” says Shea, laughing, “though I find I like it myself as I get more gray hair.” Kidding aside, dating a find is crucial for understanding its significance and relation to other fossils or artifacts.Methods fall into one of two categories: relative or absolute.

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When it comes to determining the age of stuff scientists dig out of the ground, whether fossil or artifact, “there are good dates and bad dates and ugly dates,” says paleoanthropologist John Shea of Stony Brook University.

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