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If there has been a significant increase in Carbon dioxide as a result of burning fossil fuels, it should be skewing the carbon dating.

By richwicks follow richwicks   2021 May 17, 8:26am 153 views   10 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


Somebody pointed something out that seems to make sense to me and I wanted to solicit input from other people.

Radioactive carbon dating is done to measure the age of organic material; in particular organisms that live on the land. In the upper atmosphere neutrons are generated by cosmic rays, which if they react with N14 produced C14 + a proton.

Carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels is nearly all C12 - there should be no C14 in crude oil, or natural gas.

So, if there's been a significant increase in CO2 from burning fossil fuels, we would expect that organisms today would appear to be older than they are, because the ratio of C14 to C12 would be lower - if a significant amount of CO2 is indeed entering our biosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. The production of C14 is considered "constant" more or less but with more C12 entering our biosphere, we should be seeing a relative decrease in C14.

Is my logic wrong? Has this happened?
1   Patrick   ignore (1)   2021 May 17, 6:25pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I like this idea, but don't know the answer.
2   HeadSet   ignore (3)   2021 May 18, 8:11am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

CO2, even after all the fossil fuel burning, is still just a trace element in the atmosphere. And whenever CO2 concentrations are higher, plants grow faster to take advantage of the extra gas they use as building material. Thus a feedback loop that would keep the C12/C14 ratios constant.

I question why fossil fuels do not contain C14. After all, the oil/coal/gas is just carbon taken from the atmosphere long ago, and should contain the same ratio of C12/C14 that was in the air at the time.
3   Shaman   ignore (2)   2021 May 18, 8:28am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

The fact that carbon dioxide levels have gone up dramatically isn’t in dispute. What is in question is how much effect that has had on the globe.
4   Patrick   ignore (1)   2021 May 18, 8:31am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

HeadSet says
After all, the oil/coal/gas is just carbon taken from the atmosphere long ago, and should contain the same ratio of C12/C14 that was in the air at the time.



I think the mechanism is that one isotope gets produced in the upper atmosphere, but it isn't stable. When the CO2 is underground, that isotope decays over time. So you can then tell which things have been underground, and for how long.
5   HeadSet   ignore (3)   2021 May 18, 10:17am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Shaman says
The fact that carbon dioxide levels have gone up dramatically isn’t in dispute. What is in question is how much effect that has had on the globe.

Dramatically? From what to what? "Percent Increase" always sensationalizes small numbers, so what ppm are they saying the increase is?
6   Shaman   ignore (2)   2021 May 18, 12:14pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

The first image is from NASA.
The second is a photo I took in the LA Museum of Natural History.


7   HeadSet   ignore (3)   2021 May 18, 1:56pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Interesting. It went up 100 ppm since 1950. I am really skeptical of the rest of that chart, as to how anyone could reliably know what atmospheric CO2 levels were at points in time dating back 800,000 years.
8   richwicks   ignore (3)   2021 May 18, 2:35pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

HeadSet says
CO2, even after all the fossil fuel burning, is still just a trace element in the atmosphere. And whenever CO2 concentrations are higher, plants grow faster to take advantage of the extra gas they use as building material. Thus a feedback loop that would keep the C12/C14 ratios constant.

I question why fossil fuels do not contain C14. After all, the oil/coal/gas is just carbon taken from the atmosphere long ago, and should contain the same ratio of C12/C14 that was in the air at the time.


C14, as far as I know (and have read), is exclusively created in the upper atmosphere. You start with nitrogen, isotope 14 - it's hit by a neutron, and a proton is ejected, and you end up with C14 which will decay in time. You'd need not only a neutron in an oil deposit but nitrogen to create C14 there. There should be no, or nearly no C14 in an oil deposit.

The amount of C14 production is roughly constant (I believe that's an axiom), but the claim of global warming is that the amount of CO2 is increasing.

When C14 is created, it becomes carbon monoxide, and that quickly becomes carbon dioxide and it it thought to thoroughly mix with the atmosphere in less than 10 years.

I'm pretty certain that this has been overlooked, although I didn't find this flaw in the claims. Somebody less knowledgeable than I am about science pointed this out, and I spent a couple days thinking about it, and finally, I think he's right. I was too stupid to think of this myself.
9   richwicks   ignore (3)   2021 May 18, 2:36pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

HeadSet says
CO2, even after all the fossil fuel burning, is still just a trace element in the atmosphere. And whenever CO2 concentrations are higher, plants grow faster to take advantage of the extra gas they use as building material. Thus a feedback loop that would keep the C12/C14 ratios constant.

I question why fossil fuels do not contain C14. After all, the oil/coal/gas is just carbon taken from the atmosphere long ago, and should contain the same ratio of C12/C14 that was in the air at the time.


That doesn't matter, most of a plant is water, than hydrocarbons. There's a lot of carbon in any organism.

The ratio should be changing, I think. I'll do more research, and I might be able to talk to a geologist about this who specialized in oil discovery - or claimed to. Might be hard to contact him.
10   richwicks   ignore (3)   2021 May 18, 3:26pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Shaman says
The first image is from NASA.
The second is a photo I took in the LA Museum of Natural History.




If that graph is correct, we should see a huge change in carbon dating. Current organisms should have far lower C14 levels than they would before 1700. C14 has about a 1/2 life of 5,000 years, more than 25% of the CO2 in the atmosphere - if it's from fossil fuels, would be C12, not C14.

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