# Limitations of carbon dating

### Limitations of carbon dating

Jump down to summary if you just want to know what both categories of limitations are.

Another example, you may want to use (carbon-14) to date an old object.The reason it isn't 1 million year old is because the half-life of 14-C is about 5 730 years, which means after about 50 000 years there is no more 14-C to measure, hence the limit of that dating technique is about 50 000 years.All different decay series' have upper and lower limits for which they work effectively. Selector .selector_input_interaction .selector_input. Selector .selector_input_interaction .selector_spinner. This question requires a very extensive answer to be able to cover all bases here but I'm going to attempt to explain the salient facts.So by measuring the C-14 level we work out how many half lives old the sample is and therefore how old it is.

The trouble is that after 40,000 years there is under 1% of the original C-14 left, and it becomes too hard to measure it accurately.Lets say the object is a million years old (but as the scientist measuring this object we don't know that) and we go to measure it using the 14-C method.The age we come up with is around 50 000 years old.The half life of carbon-14 is about 5,700 years, so if we measure the proportion of C-14 in a sample and discover it's half a part per trillion, i.e.half the original level, we know the sample is around one half life or 5,700 years old.Analytical limitations encompass the limitations of the machinery that is being used to date a material.

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