For these samples, other dating methods must be used.
These include the starting conditions, the constancy of the rate of decay, and that no material has left or entered the sample.
Furthermore, if a sample has been contaminated, scientists will know about it.
However, a little more knowledge about the exact ins and outs of carbon dating reveals that perhaps it is not quite as fool-proof a process as we may have been led to believe.
At its most basic level, carbon dating is the method of determining the age of organic material by measuring the levels of carbon found in it.
Specifically, each nucleus will lose an electron, a process which is referred to as decay.
This rate of decay, thankfully, is constant, and can be easily measured in terms of ‘half-life’.
Specifically, there are two types of carbon found in organic materials: carbon 12 (C-12) and carbon 14 (C-14).
It is imperative to remember that the material must have been alive at one point to absorb the carbon, meaning that carbon dating of rocks or other inorganic objects is nothing more than inaccurate guesswork.
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