Margin of error in radiocarbon dating
After one half-life has elapsed, one half of the atoms of the nuclide in question will have decayed into a "daughter" nuclide or decay product.In many cases, the daughter nuclide itself is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain, eventually ending with the formation of a stable (nonradioactive) daughter nuclide; each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed.The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay.Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.Different methods of radiometric dating vary in the timescale over which they are accurate and the materials to which they can be applied.
It is not affected by external factors such as temperature, pressure, chemical environment, or presence of a magnetic or electric field.
) There is no doubt that a more reliable estimate of the ‘true’ age of the Vinland map would be obtained if additional independent measurements were available. Table 2 shows that in all cases a chi square of 5% or less was obtained, making it unlikely that the counting errors represent the total error in the radiocarbon dating of the above five samples.