Margin of error in radiocarbon dating

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In a related article on geologic ages (Ages), we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages.

In a separate article (Radiometric dating), we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques.

The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples.

Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data (after certain preliminary calculations are made) are fitted to a straight line (an "isochron") by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.

In other words, the ice has been confirmed to be as old as the collective measurements indicate.

These data alone destroy the core doctrine of the theory of Young Earth Creationism that the Earth is only about 6,000 years old.

One year earlier the European Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) recovered a core to a depth of 3,028.8 meters at a site 30 kilometers east of GISP2.

But it is already clear that the carbon method of dating will have to be recalibrated and corrected in some cases.As we pointed out in these two articles, radiometric dates are based on known rates of radioactivity, a phenomenon that is rooted in fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulas.Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades.The slope of the line determines the date, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of the resulting date.Technical details on how these dates are calculated are given in Radiometric dating. As with any experimental procedure in any field of science, these measurements are subject to certain "glitches" and "anomalies," as noted in the literature.

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