Rebecca Dyer, 30 years old
Here's how it works. A volcano explodes over a landscape four million years ago. During the explosion, Argon gas trapped within carbon dating lava flows lava is expelled. This leaves the lava Argon-free. As the lava cools, it hardens. Potassium, naturally occurring in the lava, is made-up of a mixture of radioactive Potassium and non-radioactive Potassium
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Until the mids, it was impossible to know when each of the flows occurred. However, as this video segment adapted from NOVA describes, scientists are now using tiny artifacts of life encased in hardened lava flows to piece together the mountain's complex geological and biological history. Flowing lava erases nearly everything in its path. An entire forest can be wiped out by streams of molten rock. In some circumstances however, a flow may encase a small amount of plant material before it is entirely incinerated. Starved of the oxygen required for combustion, these bits of organic material are preserved inside the cooling lava.
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To know if carbon dating is accurate, we would have to know how much carbon was in the atmosphere in the beginning, and also how long it has been increasing, or decreasing. Since no one was there, no one knows for sure. It's like trying to figure out how long a candle has been burning, without knowing the rate at which it burns, or its original size. Living penguins have been carbon dated and the results said that they had died 8, years ago! This is just one of many inaccurate dates given by Carbon dating. The shells of living mollusks have been dated using the carbon 14 method, only to find that the method gave it a date as having been dead for 23, years! Science vol. The carbon dating lava flows of a seal that had been dead for 30 years was carbon dated, and the results stated that the seal had died 4, years ago! What about a freshly killed seal?