Dating of volcanic ash
The job of a radiocarbon laboratory is to measure the remaining amounts of radiocarbon in a carbon sample.
This is very difficult and requires a lot of careful work to produce reliable dates.
Carbon follows this pathway through the food chain on Earth so that all living things are using carbon, building their bodies until they die.
A tiny part of the carbon on the Earth is called Carbon-14 (C14), or radiocarbon.
I have tried here to answer some of the frequently asked questions that I receive from students via email, as well as providing some basic information about scientific dating methods.
"Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure.
Animals eat plants, and some eat other animals in the food chain.
The half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for half the radiocarbon in a sample of bone or shell or any carbon sample to disappear.
Libby found that it took 5568 years for half the radiocarbon to decay.
After the war he became very interested in peaceful applications of atomic science.
He and two students first measured the "half-life" of radiocarbon.
The C14 method has been and continues to be applied and used in many, many different fields including hydrology, atmospheric science, oceanography, geology, palaeoclimatology, archaeology and biomedicine.