* The 2021 Version of an RSR Classic: Carbon-14 doesn't lie. It has a relatively brief life and yet is plentiful in fossils and diamonds claimed to be millions and billions of years old. Carbon-14 can't be an anomaly, because it's not here and there but it's everywhere it shouldn't be. This radiocarbon is so unstable that a solid ball of 14c the size of the Earth would all decay into nitrogen in less than a million years. Real Science Radio hosts Bob Enyart and Fred Williams begin today's Carbon-14 program by airing Bob's phone conservation from 15 years ago with Jurassic Park film advisor Jack Horner. Bob offered Jack $23,000 to carbon date the soft tissue T. rex that his team had recently excavated. (See bflist.rsr.org for a list of dinosaur biomaterial fossil papers.)
* RSR's 2021 Carbon 14 Series: Pt. 1 (today's show), Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, and Pt. 5.
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* 14c Factoids:
- Our atmosphere has one carbon-14 atom for every one trillion carbon atoms. (one in a trillion)
- 21 pounds of 14c are produced in the atmosphere every year!
- Unstable radiocarbon decays with a half-life of 5,730 years. (half-life symbol = t1/2)
- A solid ball of 14c the size of the Earth would all decay into nitrogen in less than a million years.
- A gram of carbon has about 50 sextillion carbon atoms. (50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)
- RSR co-host Fred has about 10 octillion total atoms in his body. (one octillion of carbon)
- Fred, a big guy, carries around about 50 billion radiocarbon atoms! (50,000,000,000)
- Fred's body experiences about 2,500 decays of 14c to nitrogen every second. (Don't tell Sandy!)
- One 14c atom in a trillion carbon atoms is referred to as 100 percent modern carbon. (100 pMC)
- Likewise, 100 14c atoms in a 100 trillion is referred to as 100 percent modern carbon. (100 pMC)
- So 50 14c atoms in a 100 trillion carbon atoms is referred to as 50 percent modern carbon. (50 pMC)
- Fifty percent modern carbon is interpreted as 5,730 years before present. (about 6,000 years BP)
- The best AMS labs accurately count 14c atoms to even 0.001 of a percent modern carbon. (100th to a 1000th pMC)
- Published lab measurements show processing introduces 1/10th to 3/10ths of a percent contamination. (~0.2 pMC)
- So lab contamination adds one 14c atom to 250 in 500 trillion carbon atoms. (Yielding 251 of 500 trillion or 50.2 pMC.)
- 14c "ages" get progressively significantly inflated as with bones from 873 AD dated to 200 years earlier.
- Pompeii, destroyed in 79 AD, was expected to give appropriate ages but gave 2400 to 5800 years BP.
- Old 14c "dates" are progressively too old and there's far too much C-14 in diamonds, etc., to be contamination!