Dating range

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The deepest parts of the ocean mix very slowly with the surface waters, and the mixing is uneven.The main mechanism that brings deep water to the surface is upwelling, which is more common in regions closer to the equator.Research has been ongoing since the 1960s to determine what the proportion of in the atmosphere has been over the past fifty thousand years.The resulting data, in the form of a calibration curve, is now used to convert a given measurement of radiocarbon in a sample into an estimate of the sample's calendar age.Animals eat the plants, and ultimately the radiocarbon is distributed throughout the biosphere.

The method was developed in the late 1940s at the University of Chicago by Willard Libby, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.It is based on the fact that radiocarbon ( in a sample from a dead plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.The older a sample is, the less (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to around 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally permit accurate analysis of older samples.The development of radiocarbon dating has had a profound impact on archaeology.In addition to permitting more accurate dating within archaeological sites than previous methods, it allows comparison of dates of events across great distances.

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