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Author Topic:   Several specific questions about RadioCarbon Dating using AMS
Posts: 3883
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 3.3

Message 23 of 30 (777416)
01-30-2016 4:54 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Coyote
01-29-2016 2:53 PM

Shells incorporating old carbon from non-atmospheric source?
I was under the impression that dating shells is a shaky proposition.

Quoting myself from here:

As for the carbon dating of mollusk shells. I have posted on this before, at one of the radiometric dating topics. I pulled the info from my isotope geology text.

For radiocarbon dating to be accurate, the carbon in question must have been in equilibrium with the atmosphere at the time of the life forms death. Or in the above case, while the mollusk is living. But the carbon content of seawater is often not in equilibrium with the atmosphere of the time. Rather, the carbon ratios perhaps reflects an atmosphere contact of the past. Or perhaps the carbon ratios of the sea floor sediment. There are also other potential problems.

Principles of Isotope Geology, Gunter Faure, 1977, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

The dating of shells is discussed on pages 315-317.


Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Coyote, posted 01-29-2016 2:53 PM Coyote has replied

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