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The earth has a magnetic field around it which helps protect us from harmful radiation from outer space. The stronger the field is around the earth, the fewer the number of cosmic rays that are able to reach the atmosphere.
This would result in a smaller production of The cause for the long term variation of the C-14 level is not known.
The variation is certainly partially the result of a change in the cosmic ray production rate of radiocarbon.
The cosmic-ray flux, and hence the production rate of C-14, is a function not only of the solar activity but also of the magnetic dipole moment of the Earth.4Though complex, this history of the earth’s magnetic field agrees with Barnes’ basic hypothesis, that the field has always freely decayed....
Scientists use a technique called radiometric dating to estimate the ages of rocks, fossils, and the earth.
Before we get into the details of how radiometric dating methods are used, we need to review some preliminary concepts from chemistry.
The illustration below shows the three isotopes of carbon.
Some isotopes of certain elements are unstable; they can spontaneously change into another kind of atom in a process called “radioactive decay.” Since this process presently happens at a known measured rate, scientists attempt to use it like a “clock” to tell how long ago a rock or fossil formed.
There are two main applications for radiometric dating.
One is for potentially dating fossils (once-living things) using carbon-14 dating, and the other is for dating rocks and the age of the earth using uranium, potassium and other radioactive atoms.