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Radiocarbon dating is one such type of radiometric dating.Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. 1979, 1986 © Harper Collins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source radiocarbon dating A technique for measuring the age of organic remains based on the rate of decay of carbon 14.I saw my adult life beginning, along with a relentless accumulation of more stuff. Looking around my house nearly 20 years later, my vision was prescient.I’ve col­lected more things than I want, and finding a place to put them all is a daily struggle.Most carbon consists of the isotopes carbon 12 and carbon 13, which are very stable.

Libby thus reasoned that by measuring carbon 14 levels in the remains of an organism that died long ago, one could estimate the time of its death.

My twenty­something anxiety wasn’t un­founded, ­either. Research has revealed a troubling paradox: not only is clutter a cause of stress, but so is getting rid of things.

Unlike people, you can’t really guess the age of a rock from looking at it.

Yet, you’ve heard the news: Earth is 4.6 billion years old. That corn cob found in an ancient Native American fire pit is 1,000 years old. Geologic age dating—assigning an age to materials—is an entire discipline of its own.

In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.

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