Short notes on radiocarbon dating
For example, bone samples can be contaminated by the presence of limestone or organic acids in the soil (like humic or fulvic acids) where the bones were found.
Another example of a natural contaminant is plant root penetration on wood, charcoal, or soil.
There is no standard method for pretreatment applicable to all samples for radiocarbon dating.
The pretreatment method employed depends on the type of sample and the possible contaminants.
Carbon dating is a method to estimate the age of carbon containing materials like trees. Both C-12 and C-13 are stable, but C-14 decay to nitrogen-14 with a half-life of approximately 5,730 years.
Learn More The occurrence of contamination can be natural or artificial.
Natural contamination pertains to the introduction of contaminants to the sample by its surrounding material.
Regardless of the carbon dating methodology employed, be it radiometric dating or the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) method, a process must be done before analysis to get rid of all possible contaminants. Radiocarbon dating labs receive various materials for analysis but not all portions of the samples can be used.
It must be noted that radiocarbon dating is only applicable to materials that were once part of a living organism.