Radiocarbon dating beta analytic
Careful sample preparation by Strata Data is matched by the world class analysis by Beta Analytic Inc.Converting the results of the analyses to numerical ages is achieved using the INTCAL13 calibration curve.However, upon death there is no further uptake of carbon and the 14C decays to 12N with a half life of 5730 years.Measurement of the amount of C remaining in a dead organism will therefore give the date of its death.Dating annual tree growth rings of known historical age has demonstrated that in the past there have been short term variations in atmospheric C levels.Tree ring dating has been used to construct a probabilistic calibration curve extending back to 11857 calendar years BP (see figure below).This method is not without its own inaccuracies and has limited precision, but it does provide dates in terms of calendar years.
The initial assumption that the concentration of atmospheric C has been constant as measured in 1950 has been shown to be incorrect.Thus, it is not possible to accurately date organisms which have died since 1950.Because of the small size of most industrial samples the Accerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) method is used.The INTCAL98 calibration curve thus constructed has been accepted by international consent (see Stuiver et al., 1998).Two other U-Th dates provide a tentative extension to the INTCAL98 curve which has been used in this report to provide a calibration curve back to about 40k years BP.
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Using this method, the maximum detectable age is no greater than 50,000 years and over 40,000 years dates are unreliable.