What are problems with radiocarbon dating?


Top Answer
User Avatar
Wiki User
2010-11-18 17:10:19
2010-11-18 17:10:19

'''The following answer, which is factually inaccurate, was taken almost verbatim from I will leave it here in it's entirety but add in notations to better the question asker's understanding of the subject.'''

One problem is that it (Carbon-14 Dating) may not be accurate because it relies on several assumptions (or guesses) that have not been proven (using the scientific method) to be true.

1. It assumes the rate of decay of carbon-14 has remained constant over billions of years.
''Radioactive decay rates do not change. Ever.''

2. It assumes the rate of carbon-14 formation has remained constant over billions of years.

''False. See my notation after #3.''

3. It assumes the concentrations of carbon-14 and carbon-12 have remained constant in the atmosphere over billions of years.''


''This is false. When scientists perform carbon dating they use a calibration curve ( to compensate for varying levels of carbon 14 in the atmosphere caused by variations in the rate of carbon-14 formation. They do NOT assume the levels of carbon-14 have been constant forever.''

4. It assumes the amount of carbon-14 being presently produced had equaled the amount of carbon-12, so that it had reached a "balance" that does not change.

''This is not only false but completely made up.'''''


5. It assumes all plant and animal life utilize carbon-14 equally as they do carbon-12.

''It assumes no mechanism for straining out some or all of carbon-14 and using only carbon-12. This is because no one has ever show such a mechanism to exist.'' ''

''''The reason long term carbon dating (such as for determining the age of the earth) is not accurate is that we have no idea what the carbon-14 levels were past a certain point.


''for the short term (less than 45,000 years) carbon dating is indeed accurate due to calibration curves allowing scientists to compensate for varying levels of carbon-14 in the atmosphere. '' So its like a blind date its not gonna go well now is it da

User Avatar

Related Questions

Radiocarbon dating was discovered in 1946 by Willard Libby.

Radiocarbon dating was developed by Willard Libby in 1949.

Radiocarbon dating cannot be used to determine the age of fossils or "of the earth" because these materials no longer have radiocarbon or have negligible amount of radiocarbon.

A specialist that dates radiocarbon

Radiocarbon dating is an radioactive isotope dating technique used in dating materials which contain the unstable carbon-14 isotope. Radiocarbon dating is used to determine the age of previously living organisms.

It's radiocarbon dating, and it's finding out how old something is using radiocarbon.

Carbon 14 is the isotope of carbon measured in radiocarbon dating.

Yes, carbon dating and radiocarbon dating refer to the same test, which is the analysis of the carbon 14 isotope.

Radiocarbon dating can be done at a variety of research institutions including Woods Whole and UC Irvine. Radiocarbon dating is done in labs with equipment specific to carbon 14 analysis. Most radiocarbon dating labs have liquid scintillation counters for radiometric dating and accelerator mass spectrometers for AMS dating.

The history of radiocarbon dating goes back to 1949, where it was introduced to the world by Willard Libby. Radiocarbon dating is technique that uses the decay of carbon-14 to estimate the age of organic material.

The radioisotope commonly used for radiocarbon dating is carbon-14.

Radiocarbon dating is useful to evaluate the age of organic materials old to 50 000 years.

Only organic materials can be tested by the radiocarbon method.

Beta Analytic radiocarbon dating lab in Miami, Florida. The company's website is

Radiocarbon dating is useful only for materials containing carbon and not older than 45 000 years.

There are various isotopic dating methods other than radiocarbon dating, and even more in development. Some include:Uranium Series DatingLead 210 DatingPotassium Argon Dating

Relative dating ,radiocarbon dating ,and absolute dating

Radiocarbon dating is effective for material of an age up to around 45,000 years before present.

Radiocarbon dating is incredibly accurate. However, on occasions it may not be particularly precise and the date given my include a range of several decades.

It depends on the material and the processes involved but normally about 50,000 years, which is why radiocarbon dating is mostly used by archaeologists. Geologists mainly use isotopic dating.

Radiocarbon dating of volcanoes is the process of determining the age of volcanoes using carbon-bearing minerals found in these landforms. It is synonymous to radioactive carbon dating.

In radiocarbon dating, the carbon-14 levels in the object being dated are compared with _____.

The radioactive isotope carbon-14 is used in dating.

There are around 100 laboratories worldwide that conduct radiocarbon dating tests. A website with list of them can be found in the related links section below.

Carbon 14 in scientific terms can refer to carbon 14 dating or radiocarbon dating. This is a method of age determination that relies on the decay of radiocarbon to nitrogen.

Copyright ยฉ 2020 Multiply Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply.