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Is carbon dating accurate Carbon dating used since 1948 is currently the main method of testing artifacts for age My objective through this essay is to disprove the accuracy of the Carbon 14 dating method William Libby invented carbon dating in 1948 It works on the principle that the carbon 14-C is radioactive It decays at a known rate called a half-life This is balanced by the fact that 14-C is constantly produced in atmospheric reactions Because of this 14-C and its breakdown product 12-C typically stay in balance Carbon is passed between the ocean atmosphere and living things in the Carbon Cycle When an animal dies it is taken out of the carbon cycle After this the proportion of 14-C to 12-C steadily declines This supposedly allows one to date an object by the proportion of 14-C to 12-C The problems of Carbon 14 dating are endless A test in Science vol 141 page 636 August 16 1963 showed the shell from a living mollusk to be dead for 3000 years Tests of Hawaiian lava flows known to be less than 200 years old have been dated up to 3 billion years old The truth is the time range for 14-C is unknown1 That is the scientists themselves do not know the effective range for 14-C Also All carbon dates have a plus-minus probable error range The older the item the bigger the error range An additional problem is that the true half-life of 14-C is unknown2 Scientists are drawing logical conclusions from an assumption of 14-Cs half-life Surrounding soil water vegetation andor animal matter can even contaminate samples When this contamination occurs it mixes the date for the item with the date of the contaminant Exacerbating this effect non-living items cannot be dated There is also the human subjectivity in carbon-14 dating For instance if someone found a 95 million year old human in an area where there was
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