Scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Laboratory of Columbia University at Palisades, N.
Y., reported today in the British journal Nature that some estimates of age based on carbon analyses were wrong by as much as 3,500 years.
Of course, there are many problems with such dating methods, such as parent or daughter substances entering or leaving the rock, as well as daughter product being present at the beginning.
Here I want to concentrate on another source of error, namely, processes that take place within magma chambers.
He anticipated that the ‘wilder races’ would become extinct because survival of the fittest meant they would be superseded by the evolutionarily-advanced ‘civilised’ races.They arrived at this conclusion by comparing age estimates obtained using two different methods - analysis of radioactive carbon in a sample and determination of the ratio of uranium to thorium in the sample.In some cases, the latter ratio appears to be a much more accurate gauge of age than the customary method of carbon dating, the scientists said.It is too soon to know whether the discovery will seriously upset the estimated dates of events like the arrival of human beings in the Western Hemisphere, scientists said.But it is already clear that the carbon method of dating will have to be recalibrated and corrected in some cases.