Carbon dating used date specimens
It can't be used to date rocks directly. This means there's been a steady increase in radiocarbon production which would increase the ratio. However, the principle of carbon dating applies to other isotopes as well. Precise measurements taken over the last years have shown a steady decay in the strength of the earth's magnetic field.
First of all, it's predicated upon a set of questionable assumptions. It is naturally unstable and so it will spontaneously decay back into N after a period of time. The ratio can further be affected by C production rates in the atmosphere, which in turn is affected by the amount of cosmic rays penetrating the earth's atmosphere. By looking at the ratio of carbon to carbon in the sample and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to determine the age of a formerly living thing fairly precisely. However, radioisotope dating may not work so well in the future.
The ratio of carbon to carbon at the moment of death is the same as every other living thing, but the carbon decays and is not replaced. Carbon Dating - The Controversy Carbon dating is controversial for a couple of reasons.
The amount of cosmic rays penetrating the earth's atmosphere is itself affected by things like the earth's magnetic field which deflects cosmic rays. Another limitation is that this technique can only be applied to organic material such as bone, flesh, or wood. Specimens which lived and died during a period of intense volcanism would appear older than they really are if they were dated using this technique. Carbon is a naturally abundant element found in the atmosphere, in the earth, in the oceans, and in every living creature.
However, there is strong evidence which suggests that radioactive decay may have been greatly accelerated in the unobservable past. And finally, this dating scheme is controversial because the dates derived are often wildly inconsistent. This man-made fluctuation wasn't a natural occurrence, but it demonstrates the fact that fluctuation is possible and that a period of natural upheaval upon the earth could greatly affect the ratio.
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