Problems using carbon 14 dating

Professor Tom Higham is director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at Oxford University and Principal Investigator for the Palaeo Chron Project.Tom completed his Ph D at the Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory.The decay events for each sample are measured over a week.The results from the liquid scintillation spectrometer are carefully analysed and provide a radiocarbon age for the sample.The moa bone analysis gave a radiocarbon date of 580 plus or minus 40 years.Using the terrestrial calibration curve, a calendar age of AD 1390–1435 was established for the moa bone sample.

In addition to the moa sample, control samples are also measured at the same time.To obtain a calendar age for the sample, this radiocarbon age needs to be compared against samples of known age by means of a calibration curve using a specially designed computer software application.This application uses a terrestrial calibration curve to calculate the calendar age.The carbon dioxide formed in the combustion stage is heated in the presence of pure lithium metal, which produces lithium carbide.When all of the carbon dioxide has reacted, distilled water is added to the lithium carbide and a chemical reaction occurs, resulting in the production of acetylene gas.

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