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Posted by / 30-Oct-2016 03:24

Radiomatic dating

The pair of blue curves show the radiocarbon measurements on the tree rings (plus and minus one standard deviation) and the red curve on the left indicates the radiocarbon concentration in the sample.The grey histogram shows possible ages for the sample (the higher the histogram the more likely that age is).The wood in these rings once laid down remains unchanged during the life of the tree.This is very useful as a record of the radiocarbon concentration in the past.If we have a tree that is 500 years old we can measure the radiocarbon in the 500 rings and see what radiocarbon concentration corresponds to each calendar year.Using very old trees (such as the Bristlecone Pines in the western U. A.), it is possible to make measurements back to a few thousand years ago.

For this purpose `present' refers to 1950 so you do not have to know the year in which the measurement was made.This plot shows how the radiocarbon measurement 3000 -30BP would be calibrated.The left-hand axis shows radiocarbon concentration expressed in years `before present' and the bottom axis shows calendar years (derived from the tree ring data).For older periods we are able to use other records of with idependent age control to tell us about how radiocarbon changed in the past.The information from measurements on tree rings and other samples of known age (including speleothems, marine corals and samples from sedimentary records with independent dating) are all compiled into calibration curves by the Int Cal group.

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Once calibrated a radiocarbon date should be expressed in terms of cal BC, cal AD or cal BP.

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