How accurate is radiocarbon dating

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One day, about 5,000 years ago, most of the water suddenly drained from the pool.Since then, the amount of water only fills a bathtub, but one drop of red ink continued to fall into the bathtub each year.

She will lead efforts to combine the Lake Suigetsu measurements with marine and cave records to come up with a new standard for carbon dating.The water dilutes the ink so much that even after a few thousand years very little pinkness can be seen in the pool.Also, the imaginary ink in water slowly disappears with a half-life of 5,730 years. If you could watch 100 carbon-14 atoms (or red ink molecules which, in this analogy, represents carbon-14), you would on rare occasions see a carbon-14 atom decay and become nitrogen-14.The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.Organisms capture a certain amount of carbon-14 from the atmosphere when they are alive. 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.

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