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Some of the different kinds of radioactive atoms used to date objects are shown in the following table: Potassium-Argon Dating Potassium atoms are used to date rocks that have formed from molten rock. Argon is an inert gasit does not chemically bond to other atoms.
Argon in molten rock can just bubble out and escape.
Rarely a week goes by without someone emailing me with a comment similar to the following: "They have found some fossils near where I live and have carbon-dated them to be 100 million years old".
There is a lot to be written about dating methods-and many articles on the subject appear on the Answers in Genesis website-but what I am more concerned about in this article is, why do so many people believe that carbon-dating has dated fossils to be millions of years old.
Atoms of carbon-14 are produced in the atmosphere by neutron bombardment of atoms of nitrogen-14.
We can't date oil paints, because their oil is "old" carbon from petroleum. And third, it is common to soak new-found fossils in a preservative, such as shellac.
It is produced in the upper atmosphere by radiation from the sun.
(Specifically, neutrons hit nitrogen-14 atoms and transmute them to carbon.) Land plants, such as trees, get their carbon from carbon dioxide in the air. The same is true of any creature that gets its carbon by eating such plants. Suppose such a creature dies, and the body is preserved.
That causes a dating problem with any animal that eats seafood. After about ten half-lives, there's very little C14 left.
So, anything more than about 50,000 years old probably can't be dated at all.
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You’ve seen them in the magazines, on television, in the museums and maybe you’ve even held one in your hands. A question that often arises is “How do scientists determine the age of a dinosaur bone?