Dating old rocks

They can add together to bring a shower of blessings.PALEONTOLOGY, AND in particular the study of dinosaurs, is an exciting topic to people of all ages.

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The resulting radiocarbon combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis; animals then acquire 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.

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.

The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.

Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.

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