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Another standard, Oxalic Acid II was prepared when stocks of HOx 1 began to dwindle. The ratio of the activity of Oxalic acid II to 1 is 1.29330.001 (the weighted mean) (Mann, 1983). There are other secondary radiocarbon standards, the most common is ANU (Australian National University) sucrose.

The ratio of the activity of sucrose with 0.95 Ox was first measured by Polach at 1.50070.0052 (Polach, 1976b:122).

A reaction occurs and a tiny number of these collisions convert nitrogen to carbon-14.

This carbon-14 immediately starts to radioactively decay but is constantly being recreated.

This discussion is a simplified introduction to radiocarbon dating.

Carbon-14 originates in the upper atmosphere of the earth and is created when neutrons originating from solar radiation bombardment collide with nitrogen in the air.It also works on tiny samples – even a flake of ink or paint – and is considered a more accurate means of dating.“With standard radiocarbon dating, there’s a risk of contamination of carbonates.They have to use acids and, within that process, you lose a large part of your sample and you destroy it,” Blinman explained.“But we now have the ability to date incredibly small amounts of carbon – 40-100 millionths of a gram – and that is the real revolutionary aspect of this.And the ancillary part of that is it’s non-destructive.”That’s important to Nancy Akins, a research associate with the Office of Archaeological Studies, who in February was having a bison tooth and sheep bone tested by “Marvin’s Machine.” The items were excavated from the site of a rock shelter in Coyote Canyon north of Mora.“It could be 500 years old or it could be 5,000 years old,” she said of the bison tooth, the result allowing her to complete her report of the site that she’s determined to have been used by humans as a hunting outpost starting 1,700 years ago.“I’m just waiting on the dates, because it’ll change everything if we get dates where I can actually say, ‘OK, that’s what the sheep bones date to and that’s what the bison dates to.’ It tells us an awful lot about how they were using the land on the east side of the Sangre de Cristos.”Because a lot of that part of New Mexico is private property or under land grants, such finds as the one in Coyote Canyon are rare, she said.“Unless there’s a road or something, we don’t have any information at all.

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