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Climate records from a Japanese lake are set to improve the accuracy of the dating technique, which could help to shed light on archaeological mysteries such as why Neanderthals became extinct.

Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material — in effect, any living thing.

In living organisms, which are always taking in carbon, the levels of carbon 14 likewise stay constant.

But in a dead organism, no new carbon is coming in, and its carbon 14 gradually begins to decay.

QUESTION: Can we use radioactive carbon dating to determine the age of the earth? Other radiometric dating methods such as potassium-argon or rubidium-strontium are used for such purposes by those who believe that the earth is billions of years old.

ANSWER: Can we use radioactive carbon dating to determine the age of the earth? Radiocarbon is not suitable for this purpose because it is only applicable: a) on a time scale of thousands of years and b) to remains of once-living organisms (with minor exceptions, from which rocks are excluded)."WHAT DO YOU THINK? God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.

­ ­You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.

When a creature dies, it ceases to consume more radiocarbon while the C-14 already in its body continues to decay back into nitrogen.

Back in the 1940s, the American chemist Willard Libby used this fact to determine the ages of organisms long dead.

Most carbon atoms have six protons and six neutrons in their nuclei and are called carbon 12. But a tiny percentage of carbon is made of carbon 14, or radiocarbon, which has six protons and eight neutrons and is not stable: half of any sample of it decays into other atoms after 5,700 years.

By measuring the ratio of the radio isotope to non-radioactive carbon, the amount of carbon-14 decay can be worked out, thereby giving an age for the specimen in question.

But that assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock.

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