Science for kids radiometric dating carbon 14
If the remains from Jersey were from after this time, the signal of nuclear tests would be obvious.But even before the "bomb carbon" period, humans were already disrupting the natural radiocarbon signal by burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas.In addition, the natural production of C14 fluctuated between 16, making it very difficult to date material from this period anyway.All of this means that if the Haut de la Garenne remains are pre-1950s, or just on the cusp of the nuclear era, it might be difficult to distinguish them from much older remains - those, say, from the 19th or 18th Centuries.By comparing this against modern levels, they can calculate a date for the death of the organism.This is done by testing C14 in organic matter such as bone, teeth or seeds.This time varies from few-millionths of a second to millions of years for different radioactive isotopes.
Professor Mc Cormac explained: "The context of where they found [the human material] and the buildings around them and the strata in which they were found will typically give them more information than a carbon date would." Deputy chief officer Harper explained: "We have the evidence that the bones were placed where we found them no earlier than the late 60s/early 70s. "We have the evidence they were deliberately concealed.And we seem to have evidence - we think - that they were moved from one part of the building to another." He told the BBC's Today programme that it was always possible the human remains were much older."Then you have to ask, why would people go to all the trouble of moving the bones, of burning them at some stage, of hiding them in a different place and then of covering them up." Paul.But when an organism dies, the C14 inside it begins to disappear.
Scientists can use this fact to measure how much radioactive carbon is left and how much has disappeared.
Radioactivity, also known as radioactive decay, is a process by which a radioactive isotope loses subatomic particles (helium nuclei or electrons) from its nucleus along with usual emission of gamma radiation, and becomes a different element.