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BASIS OF RADIOCARBON DATING Radiocarbon dating compares the amount of normal carbon with the amount of radioactive carbon in a sample. What effect would the declining strength of the earth's magnetic field and a catastrophic worldwide flood have on radiocarbon dates?Radioactive carbon (Carbon 14) is formed in the upper atmosphere as a byproduct of cosmic radiation.Cosmic rays are positively charged atoms moving at enormous speeds.
A recent test by the British Science and Engineering Research Council has shown that the accuracy of the new technique is greatly overrated.
The ions produced are forced into a magnetic field where the different mass of the carbon isotopes causes a different deflection, allowing the quantity of each isotope to be measured.
This method is claimed to be more accurate than the older and slower method of counting the number of radioactive decay emissions from a quite large sample.
As you might guess, radioactive carbon (C) is quite rare.
Only one out of every trillion carbon atoms is C14. The C14 created in the upper atmosphere reacts with oxygen to become carbon dioxide.
When they strike ordinary atoms in the upper atmosphere, the cosmic rays smash them apart. Some of these neutrons then collide with nitrogen atoms.