Libby carbon dating

Posted by / 22-Oct-2020 11:24

Radioactive carbon thus was visualized as gaining entrance wherever atmospheric carbon dioxide enters—into land plants by photosynthesis, into animals that feed on the plants, into marine and fresh waters as a dissolved component, and from there into aquatic plants and animals.In short, all parts of the carbon cycle were seen to be invaded by the isotope carbon-14.

In 1960, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work.

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The occurrence of natural radioactive carbon in the atmosphere provides a unique opportunity to date organic materials as old as roughly 60,000 years.

His success initiated a series of measurements designed to answer two questions: Is the concentration of carbon-14 uniform throughout the plant and animal kingdoms?

And, if so, has today’s uniform level prevailed throughout the recent past?

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A 2 to 3 percent depression of the atmospheric radioactive-carbon level since 1900 was noted soon after Libby’s pioneering work, almost certainly the result of the dumping of huge volumes of carbon-14-free carbon dioxide into the air through smokestacks.