In contrast, methane made from petroleum products had no measurable radioactivity.
This discovery meant that there are three naturally occurring isotopes of carbon: Whereas carbon-12 and carbon-13 are stable isotopes, carbon-14 is unstable or radioactive.
”We are like little kids on Christmas Day because we have some of the tastiest new technology in front of us,” says Associate Professor Jan Heinemeier, who together with colleagues has spent the past three years trying to get the new accelerator to Aarhus University.
The primary task of the new atom accelerator which, according to Heinemeier, is the most sophisticated accelerator of its kind, will be to carry out accurate carbon-14 datings.
A photograph and a schematic diagram of the new 3 MV AMS machine at the University of Arizona are shown below.
Many isotopes have been studied, probing a wide range of time scales.
C and counting the amount of each) allows one to date the death of the once-living things.
Perhaps you have heard of Ice Man, a man living in the Alps who died and was entombed in glacial ice until recently when the ice moved and melted.
The man's body was recovered and pieces of tissue were studied for their C content by accelerator mass spectroscopy.
The best estimate from this dating technique says the man lived between 33 BC. From the ratio, the time since the formation of the rock can be calculated.