Does radiocarbon dating work

Samples older than that contain so little carbon-14 that the dating process is inaccurate.

Above-ground nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 1960s resulted in a dramatic increase of carbon-14 in the atmosphere. Nuclear tests released lots of neutrons into the atmosphere.

The most stable artificial radioisotope is 11C, which has a half-life of 20.334 minutes.

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The older the material, the less C-14 it will contain, as the C-14 will have decayed over time at a fairly regular rate. C-12 to C-14 ratios are somewhat variable in normal samples.

Plants take up Carbon as both isotopes, and incorporate that Carbon into their cells.

The result of this variable “baseline” of “natural” ratios, is to limit the accuracy of the test.

So, to improve accuracy, it is important to have other samples from the same area which have been dated by an alternate method. The strata where the sample is found should not be disturbed.

If you are fairly sure the material has not been contaminated with Carbon compounds that are older or newer, then you can get an approximate date for the artifact. If you find a bit of bone that dates to 30,000 yrs.