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'' But at earlier times, the carbon dates were substantially younger than the dates we estimated by uranium-thorium analysis,'' he said.'' The largest deviation, 3,500 years, was obtained for samples that are about 20,000 years old.'' One reason the group believes the uranium-thorium estimates to be more accurate than carbon dating is that they produce better matches between known changes in the Earth's orbit and changes in global glaciation. Fairbanks, a member of the Lamont-Doherty group, said that if the dates of glaciation were determined using the uranium-thorium method, the delay - and the puzzle - disappeared.This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.Meet singles in Dunedin, New Zealand page, 1 on the world s first online speed, dating site.
Using a mass spectrometer, an instrument that accelerates streams of atoms and uses magnets to sort them out according to mass and electric charge, the group has learned to measure the ratio of uranium to thorium very precisely.
Dating Subject to Error But scientists have long recognized that carbon dating is subject to error because of a variety of factors, including contamination by outside sources of carbon.
Therefore they have sought ways to calibrate and correct the carbon dating method.
Radiocarbon Dating may come in as a very handy tool to utilize, but it also has its flaws.
One of the most important flaws is that scientists are only able to date back till 62,000 years ago.
They arrived at this conclusion by comparing age estimates obtained using two different methods - analysis of radioactive carbon in a sample and determination of the ratio of uranium to thorium in the sample.