Start Radiocarbon datingcarbon exchange reservoir

Radiocarbon datingcarbon exchange reservoir

What you need is a ruler, a reliable map to the reservoir: in other words, an organic set of objects that you can securely pin a date on, measure its C14 content and thus establish the baseline reservoir in a given year.

But before that, only fragmentary data is available, making it very difficult to definitively date anything older than 13,000 years.

The half-life of an isotope like C14 is the time it takes for half of it to decay away: in C14, every 5,730 years, half of it is gone.

So, if you measure the amount of C14 in a dead organism, you can figure out how long ago it stopped exchanging carbon with its atmosphere.

Since that time, CALIB, now renamed Int Cal, has been refined several times--as of this writing (January 2017), the program is now called Int Cal13.