They attributed the discovery to the carbon-14 produced during the Cold War.Now, however, carbon emissions have risen to the point where they’ve countered the initial effect of nuclear weapons testing.As scrolls, plant-based paints or cotton shirts age over thousands of years, the radioactive carbon-14 that naturally appears in organic objects gradually decays.
Radiocarbon dating seizes on that fraction, which decreases over time, to estimate age. The problem is that the fraction can decrease not only as carbon-14 decays but also as normal carbon increases.That is what is happening with the burning of fossil fuels, which are so old they do not contain any carbon-14.Graven shows the present-day levels are close to preindustrial.If the ratio were to remain constant, like in a low-emissions scenario, scientists wouldn’t be able to use it to measure the lives of individual cells, a technique that requires a rapidly changing indicator." So the short answer is yes, radioactivity can and does affect radiometric dating techniques.
This is a well established phenomenon and as such, there are many other dating methods that make up for this.A T-shirt made in 2050 could look exactly like one worn by William the Conqueror a thousand years earlier to someone using radiocarbon dating if emissions continue under a business-as-usual scenario.By 2100, a dead plant could be almost identical to the Dead Sea scrolls, which are more than 2,000 years old.From high to low The carbon fraction has already undergone a significant shift because of human activity in the past.Nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and ‘60s created much more atmospheric radioactive carbon, rapidly increasing the famous ratio, according to NPR.And a decreasing fraction could start affecting radiocarbon dating by 2020, Graven added.