By 2100, a dead plant could be almost identical to the Dead Sea scrolls, which are more than 2,000 years old.These well-known “aging” properties of atmospheric carbon were pinpointed for different emissions scenarios in a paper published in the yesterday.Today, carbon dating is used so widely as to be taken for granted.Scientists across countless disciplines rely on it to date objects that are tens of thousands of years old. An analysis by Heather Graven, a climate-physics researcher at Imperial College London, finds that today's rate of fossil-fuel emissions is skewing the ratio of carbon that scientists use to determine an object's age.Though this dilution effect is well-known, its precise scale under different emissions scenarios was not, until now.Geologists, paleontologists and archaeologists have pieced together a fairly detailed account of how Earth and its inhabitants evolved.But just how do researchers determine the ages of the materials they unearth?
The approach was a sensation when it was introduced.
Combustion of fossil fuels is “diluting the fraction of atmospheric carbon dioxide containing radiocarbon,” Graven told , the large amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make new organic material appear to be 1,000 years old based on today’s carbon-dating models.
By the year 2100, the atmosphere will have a radiocarbon age of 2,000 years old. If Graven's calculations are correct, carbon dating as we know it today will no longer be reliable by the year 2030.
The development of this page will be gradual and contributions are invited.
There are many, many interesting applications of radiocarbon dating in a variety of different fields.
If you would like to set up information regarding a project in which radiocarbon dating illuminated or solved a problem or in which C14 played a central role, please contact [email protected] The Origins of Angkor Archaeological Project From the University of Otago (New Zealand) and the Fine Arts Department of Thailand, the project is concerned with investigating archaeology of pre-formative Angkorean society of South East Asia.