Carbon dating physics problem




In particular, given a pure sample of C12, I suspect a mass spectrometer would indicate that a non-zero amount of C14 present. It is nigh impossible to measure exactly zero. It doesn't take much contamination to spoil a sample with near-zero quantity of C Creationists pounce on this explanation as meaning all carbon 14 readings are suspect.

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While that same level of contamination if this is the explanation will add some error to the dating of some reasonably aged sample, the error will be small -- so long as the sample is not too old. The contamination is additive, not proportional. Alternate source of C14 production.

The problem with carbon dating

Natural diamonds are not pure carbon. The most common contaminant is nitrogen, 0. Nearby radioactive material could trigger exactly the same C14 production process from nitrogen as occurs in the upper atmosphere, albeit at a much reduced rate. Another possible avenue is C13, which has a small but non-zero neutron absorption cross section.

By either mechanism, this is essentially internal contamination. All this means is that measured dates older than some oldest reliable date are just that -- to old to date reliably. I might be able to see if I can come up with some references. I won't be able to do so in the near term -- my wife and kids want me to stop dorking with the internet and go out to eat.

The article you were looking for is here , and yeah, it looks like you're right. Here is a very detailed explanation: I think that should be I know I visited talkorigins. What is more alarming is that the Google searches for "carbon 14 RATE", "carbon 14 diamond", and "carbon 14 coal" yield hits predominantly in woowoo fundamentalist sites, and no hits on the first 15 pages 10 links per page to anything at talkorigins.

I eventually managed to find an excellent article see the top of this post using pandasthumb. That led me to this non-technical article,. I think the news item on their front page refers to a much older event. What happened, from what I recall, is that someone hacked TalkOrigins and managed to get the site to display hidden spam links at the bottom of pages, making Google think it was a spam site and thus getting it removed from Google.

Problem with Carbon 14 radiometric dating - Physics - Science Forums

They fixed that issue a while ago. PZ Myers says they've had some technical issues. I am working my way through Kirk Bertsche's 9 page essay on the subject. Thanks DH for this link. This article does a good job at explaining the technical complexities of measuring the very small amounts of C14 present in these ancient samples and why non-zero amounts are measured. I'm a complete non-expert in this field of radiometric dating, but it strikes me reading this how contamination by modern carbon introduced during sample preparation seems to be a severe issue.

Radiocarbon dating

I'm wonder whether they've extracted samples under an inert atmosphere and then used laser ablation to ionize samples in their mass spectrometers? I'm probably teaching grandmother to suck eggs, as the old saying goes.

Getting back to my OP - I feel that some definitive work needs to be done in this area. It's easy to see that the sceptical creationist is simply going to see the scientific response as making excuses for the data instead of holding up some hard data that either explains or explodes the anomaly.


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Another thing I've heard from creationists is that fossils made by soaking samples in tar pits appear to be extremely old. Of course, the problem is that this process results in contamination with old carbon, making the sample appear older. After 3 minutes the temperature of the ball has decreased to 70 0 C. When will it reach a temperature of 31 0 C?

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This is a very simple case because copper is a very good conductor and we have a highly symmetrical shape. T temperature, is the temperature of the surrounding medium, and k is a constant. This law simply says that the speed of cooling is proportional to the temperature difference between the body and the surrounding medium.


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I am expecting to see something to chill off faster when I drop it into ice water than if I would drop it into hot water…. I call the integration constant because I want to use later on …. And we found a general solution for our problem. This knowledge will give us the particular solution for our problem.

Half-life and carbon dating

Get the value of k from 2 nd condition: Now we have the solution function for our copper ball and we can go ahead and answer the question when it will reach a temperature of 31 centigrades:. You will find differential equations everywhere, even and specially in sports. Here is the problem:. Find the velocity as a function of time. Newton's law says that the sum of all forces involves.

It says that the sum of all forces involved equals to the change of momentum: This means usually the same but becomes quite different if the masses are subject to change — think about a rocket, for example! Air resistance works upwards. Now, integrating some function is not trivial. But in order to solve our problem we are allowed to use some dirty tricks. Obviously the velocity of the skydiver continuously decreases with time as it is expected otherwise this sport would die out pretty soon. The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.

Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon. At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues. When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.

Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.

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