Carbon dating basics

The highest rate of carbon-14 production takes place at altitudes of 30,000 to 50,000 feet, and at higher geomagnetic latitudes, but the carbon-14 spreads evenly throughout the atmosphere and reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide also permeates the oceans, dissolving in the water.

In effect, radiocarbon dating established that many artifacts are now known to be far older than previously thought, and thus going back to earlier ages than otherwise could have been if they had been only the inspired and diffused products of the Near Eastern civilization.

Therefore, the notion that the ancient Near East was the fount of global human civilization can no longer hold true.

Traditionally this includes only the statistical counting uncertainty and some labs supply an "error multiplier" that can be multiplied by the uncertainty to account for other sources of error in the measuring process.

Additional error is likely to arise from the nature and collection of the sample itself, e.g., a tree may accumulate carbon over a significant period of time.

Clearly, various centers of civilization arose independently of one another even if the Near Eastern one remains the oldest on record.

) and is instantantly mixed throughout the atmosphere.

However laboratories continue to use the Libby figure to avoid confusion.are traditionally made by counting the radioactive decay of individual carbon atoms by gas proportional counting or by Liquid scintillation counting, but this is relatively insensitive and subject to relatively large statistical uncertainties for small samples (below about 1g carbon).If there is little carbon-14 to begin with, a half-life that long means that very few of the atoms will decay while their detection is attempted (4 atoms/s/mole just after death, hence e.g. Sensitivity has since been greatly increased by the use of accelerator-based mass-spectrometric (AMS)techniques, where all the 14C atoms can be counted directly, rather than only those decaying during the counting interval allotted for each analysis.The AMS technique allows to date samples containing only a few mg of carbon.measurements are usually reported as years "before present" (BP).