Limitations carbon 14 dating objects
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For archaeologists such as Spooner trying to date the first occupation of Australia, older age limitations of radiocarbon dating are frustrating, as it is exactly this period in which they are most interested.This is now considered the more reliable technique.The reason behind this is it’s nearly impossible to separate crystalline grains that were once exposed to sunlight, which continually “resets” any trapped charge, from those that had already been locked away in rocks and accumulating electrons for millennia.“Multi-grain analysis of rock shelter sediments has a tendency to give older than expected dates because it can incorporate grains from the bedrock which haven't been fully bleached by the sun,” says Spooner.While a crystalline grain such as quartz – found in desert sand – is buried and tucked away from sunlight, natural radiation from surrounding soil and rocks knocks electrons in the crystal out of position.
A few of these electrons become snagged in defects in the crystalline structure and build up over time – and i To date a buried grain, scientists heat the crystal or stimulate it with light, releasing energy from the accumulated trapped charges.
This luminescence of the burst provides a measure of how long ago the sample was buried.
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