Virtual Courseware, California State University, Los Angeles
Data Center Description
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.