Start Cosmogenic nuclide burial dating

Cosmogenic nuclide burial dating

It is therefore very important to sample landforms where partial bleaching is likely to be minimal. Measurements on ages are often reported very precisely, and ever-improving laboratory techniques mean that uncertainties are always decreasing.

), then many of your boulders may have rolled or been covered with snow. It is the job of the scientist to sample carefully to minimise these potential sources of inaccuracies in cosmogenic nuclide dating.

Radiocarbon dating relies on the regular radioactive decay of carbon-14 in organic matter.

One source of inaccuracies in radiocarbon dating is contamination.

If your sample becomes contaminated with younger, modern material during the sampling process, then it will be invalid. If you sample sediments from the bottom of a lake that has a lot of incoming waters that have ancient radiocarbon in then, then you will derive an anomalously old age.

The precision is effectively the laboratory uncertainty.

The accuracy is how far this probability density curve falls from a reference value.

Scientists want measurements that are both accurate and precise…

but it can be difficult to tell sometimes whether very precise measurements are actually accurate without an independent reference age (see top right image versus bottom right image).

In the sciences, it is important to distinguish between precision and accuracy.

If we use the analogue of a clock we can investigate this further.

The danger of inheritance (previously accumulated cosmogenic isotopes in a boulder) means that some scientists argue that, in the case of geological scatter, the youngest age is likely to be most accurate.