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Other organic data sets examined have included varves (layers in sedimentary rock which were laid down annually and contain organic materials, deep ocean corals, speleothems (cave deposits), and volcanic tephras; but there are problems with each of these methods.Cave deposits and varves have the potential to include old soil carbon, and there are as-yet unresolved issues with fluctuating amounts of C14 in ocean corals.Trees maintain carbon 14 equilibrium in their growth rings—and trees produce a ring for every year they are alive.Although we don't have any 50,000-year-old trees, we do have overlapping tree ring sets back to 12,594 years.Radiocarbon dating is one of the best known archaeological dating techniques available to scientists, and the many people in the general public have at least heard of it.But there are many misconceptions about how radiocarbon works and how reliable a technique it is.In 1960, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work.
As you might imagine, scientists have been attempting to discover other organic objects that can be dated securely steadily since Libby's discovery.
Carbon has different isotopes, which are usually not radioactive; C is the radioactive one, its half-life, or time it takes to radioactively decay to one half its original amount, is about 5,730 years.
The relatively short-lived C taken into organic matter is also slightly variable. However, under about 20,000 years the results can be compared with dendrochronology, based on tree rings.
It was the first absolute scientific method ever invented: that is to say, the technique was the first to allow a researcher to determine how long ago an organic object died, whether it is in context or not.
Shy of a date stamp on an object, it is still the best and most accurate of dating techniques devised.
For the most accurate work, variations are compensated by means of calibration curves.