Radiocarbon dating after 1950

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A shellfish alive today in a lake within a limestone catchment, for instance, will yield a radiocarbon date which is excessively old.

The lake, in this case, has a different radiocarbon reservoir than that of the majority of the radiocarbon in the biosphere and therefore an accurate radiocarbon age requires that a correction be made to account for it.

Ninety-five percent of the activity of Oxalic Acid from the year 1950 is equal to the measured activity of the absolute radiocarbon standard which is 1890 wood.

This is the International Radiocarbon Dating Standard.

The C14 will undergo radioactive decay, and after 5730 years, half of it will be gone. So, if we find such a body, the amount of C14 in it will tell us how long ago it was alive. The method doesn't work on things which didn't get their carbon from the air.

This leaves out aquatic creatures, since their carbon might (for example) come from dissolved carbonate rock.

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