The ions produced are forced into a magnetic field where the different mass of the carbon isotopes causes a different deflection, allowing the quantity of each isotope to be measured.This method is claimed to be more accurate than the older and slower method of counting the number of radioactive decay emissions from a quite large sample.The radioactive carbon has six protons and eight neutrons in its nucleus, giving it a total atomic mass of 14.This atom is not stable, and will break down, releasing nuclear energy in the process.Surely 15,000 years of difference on a single block of soil is indeed a gross discrepancy!And how could the excessive disagreement between the labs be called insignificant, when it has been the basis for the reappraisal of the standard error associated with each and every date in existence?
A recent test by the British Science and Engineering Research Council has shown that the accuracy of the new technique is greatly overrated.
This limit is currently accepted by nearly all radiocarbon dating practitioners.
It follows that the older a date is, even within this 'limit', the greater are the doubts about the date's accuracy.
As you might guess, radioactive carbon (C) is quite rare.
Only one out of every trillion carbon atoms is C14. The C14 created in the upper atmosphere reacts with oxygen to become carbon dioxide.