Advantages and disadvantages of carbon 14 dating
This significantly impacts the accuracy of carbon-based dating.
Recent samples usually have not decayed enough for an accurate reading. Tom Higham at the University of Oxford says that the age of artifacts more than 50,000 years old is difficult to pinpoint, as the samples no longer have enough radiocarbon for accurate dating.
Therefore, other methods such as OSL (Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating) or isotopes with longer half-lives researchers studying US bristle cone pine and German and Irish oaks discovered fluctuations in the C14 concentration.
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Contamination is a huge threat to the accuracy of radiocarbon dating.
This can happen when samples pick up the wrong carbon from packing materials, are exposed to atmospheric radiocarbon or experience cross-contamination with other samples.
(2) A half-life is the time needed for half the initial number of radioactive nuclei to disintegrate.
ten half-lives have past and the amount of 14C in the sample is so small that radiocarbon dating is no longer possible.