The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.
No other scientific method has managed to revolutionize man’s understanding not only of his present but also of events that already happened thousands of years ago.
Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. Most carbon on Earth exists as the very stable isotope carbon-12, with a very small amount as carbon-13.
Here’s an example using the simplest atom, hydrogen. Carbon-14 is an unstable isotope of carbon that will eventually decay at a known rate to become carbon-12.
Despite this, the momentum gained in the two decades prior to 1972 has made 4.5 b.y.
a popularly accepted “universal constant” even though the foundations on which it was based have been virtually removed.
Radiometric dating not only supports the geologic "evolution" of the Grand Canyon, it validates a central tenet in a much different theory of evolution - a theory introduced by Charles Robert Darwin in his 1859 publication, An important criticism of Darwin's theory of evolution was its requirement for "an almost infinite number of generations", when evidence at the time suggested earth was less than 100 million years old.
Nearly 50 years after Darwin published , research on radioactive elements in rocks provided the first reliable evidence that the earth was old enough to accommodate the evolution of complex organisms.
It is rapidly oxidized in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the global carbon cycle.
Their method, a type of radiometric dating called uranium-lead (U-Pb) dating, relies on the fact that uranium isotopes radioactively decay to form lead isotopes.
By comparing the amount of each isotope in a sample, the age of the sample can be calculated.
Archaeology and other human sciences use radiocarbon dating to prove or disprove theories.
Over the years, carbon 14 dating has also found applications in geology, hydrology, geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, paleoclimatology, and even biomedicine.