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Scientists in the fields of geology, climatology, anthropology, and archaeology can answer many questions about the past through a technique called radiocarbon, or carbon-14, dating.
One key to understanding how and why something happened is to pinpoint when it happened.
When a volcano erupts, hot, molten rock (called “lava”) from deep inside the Earth is released. Elements are the “building-blocks” of the universe (for example, water is made from the elements hydrogen and oxygen).
Some elements (we’ll call them “A”) in the lava are radioactive, which means that they change into other elements (we’ll call these “B”).
Imagine going for a hike in the mountains and finding a 5,000-year-old body frozen in a block of ice!
In 1991, this adventure actually happened to a couple that was walking in the mountains of Europe.
In fact, most fossils do not even contain radioactive minerals.
So if scientists wanted to measure the age of a fossil using this method, they would look for a nearby layer of igneous rock (e.g.
Of course, the best method is to check the account of a reliable eyewitness, if one is available. Since it is the written Word of God, we can trust it to tell us the truth about the past.
Have you ever wondered how the scientists knew the age of the bone?
After all, the scientists haven’t been around that long, have they?
So something that lived (and died) when the proportion of C was less than normal would appear to have died more years ago than it actually did (for example, it might give an age of 3,000 years before the present, rather than its true age of 2,000 years).
Even many archaeologists don’t think “carbon dating” is completely accurate all the time.
One of these methods is based on a substance found in our bodies, plants and all living things—it’s called carbon. This makes the plant appear to have died many more years ago than it actually did (for example, the plant might appear to be, say, 3,000 years old, rather than 2,000).