Radiocarbon dating new zealand
Radiocarbon dating new zealand
Tephra deposits when dated as whole samples without prior chemical treatments, yielded unreliable radiocarbon dates.Almost anyone familiar with the debate over the age of the earth is familiar with radiometric dating: testing for the existence of various atomic isotopes in a substance, then using the determined amount to extrapolate an age for the substance.
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The history of rats on New Zealand, while not a grade school topic, is important to the anthropologists who have tried to determine just when humans reached New Zealand.
According to the commonly accepted theory, rats were stowaways (or perhaps brought as food) on the boats of the Polynesian explorers who first reached New Zealand.
In search of a verdict, paleoecologist Janet Wilmshurst of New Zealand’s Landcare Research has used a new preparation technique to radiocarbon date rat bones from the same excavation site of the bones used in the 1996 study. The new tests indicated that all the bones were from the year 1280 or later. Finally, the team chose to date ancient seeds thought to have been gnawed by the rats (from the same excavation site). Answers in Genesis doesn’t have a particular opinion on when rats arrived in New Zealand, though the Bible tells us that humans would have arrived after the dispersion at Babel.
Next, Wilmshurst’s team tried the new technique on the same bones used in the 1996 study. Given that the dispersion happened midway through the 23rd century BC, this leaves more than 3,000 years, based on this new research, for humans to have found their way to New Zealand—clearly sufficient time.
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.
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.
This resource is designed to provide online information concerning the radiocarbon dating method.
We hope it will be of occasional use to radiocarbon users and interested students alike.
The idea behind radiocarbon dating is straightforward, but years of work were required to develop the technique to the point where accurate dates could be obtained.
Research has been ongoing since the 1960s to determine what the proportion of in the atmosphere has been over the past fifty thousand years.
As well as the AMS facility, the Rafter Radiocarbon Laboratory operates a modern, well equipped sample processing laboratory.