Virtual Courseware, California State University, Los Angeles

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Numerical dating, the focus of this exercise, takes advantage of the "clocks in
rocks" - radioactive isotopes ("parents") that spontaneously decay to form new
isotopes ("daughters") while releasing energy.

The radiocarbon dating method was developed in the 1940's by Willard F. Libby
and a team of scientists at the University of Chicago. It subsequently evolved
into the most powerful method of dating late Pleistocene and Holocene artifacts
and geologic events up to about 50,000 years in age. The radiocarbon method is
applied in many different scientific fields, including archeology, geology,
oceanography, hydrology, atmospheric science, and paleoclimatology. For his
leadership, Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960.

Information provided by: Virtual Dating

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