How does carbon dating work

15-Jan-2021 16:49

One of the researchers, Dr Michael Obersteiner, of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis near Vienna, said: “The Feli X model ...

provides a unique systemic view of the whole carbon cycle, which is vital to our understanding of future climate change and energy.

Under the Paris Agreement on climate change, the world committed to prevent global warming from going above 2C but also attempt to restrict it to as close as 1.5C as possible amid mounting evidence that dangerous effects could kick in sooner than previously thought.

The new study, described in a paper in the journal , is one of the first to use the new Feli X computer model, which includes social and economic factors along with environmental ones.

Comparing the C-14 levels in the object to levels of C-14 expected in the atmosphere for a particular historic period allows scientists to estimate the age of an artifact.

Both the conventional and new carbon dating methods can determine the age of objects as far back as 45,000 to 50,000 years, Rowe said.

The new method does not involve removing a sample of the object.

Conventional carbon dating estimates the age of an artifact based on its content of carbon-14 (C-14), a naturally occurring, radioactive form of carbon.

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"This technique stands to revolutionize radiocarbon dating," said Marvin Rowe, Ph. "It expands the possibility for analyzing extensive museum collections that have previously been off limits because of their rarity or intrinsic value and the destructive nature of the current method of radiocarbon dating.In conventional dating methods, scientists remove a small sample from an object, such as a cloth or bone fragment.Then they treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base and finally burn the sample in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas to analyze its C-14 content.He acknowledged, however, that it would take a significant amount of data to convince museum directors, art conservators, and others that the new method causes no damage to such priceless objects The scientists are currently refining the technique.Rowe hopes to use it, for instance, to analyze objects such as a small ivory figurine called the "Venus of Brassempouy," thought to be about 25,000 years old and one of the earliest known depictions of a human face.

"This technique stands to revolutionize radiocarbon dating," said Marvin Rowe, Ph. "It expands the possibility for analyzing extensive museum collections that have previously been off limits because of their rarity or intrinsic value and the destructive nature of the current method of radiocarbon dating.

In conventional dating methods, scientists remove a small sample from an object, such as a cloth or bone fragment.

Then they treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base and finally burn the sample in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas to analyze its C-14 content.

He acknowledged, however, that it would take a significant amount of data to convince museum directors, art conservators, and others that the new method causes no damage to such priceless objects The scientists are currently refining the technique.

Rowe hopes to use it, for instance, to analyze objects such as a small ivory figurine called the "Venus of Brassempouy," thought to be about 25,000 years old and one of the earliest known depictions of a human face.

The analysis suggests that efforts to prevent temperatures rising to potentially dangerous levels may have to rely heavily on “negative emissions” technology that is still in its infancy.