Fossil fuel emissions could soon make it impossible for radiocarbon dating to distinguish new materials from artefacts that are hundreds of years old. Carbon released by burning fossil fuels is diluting radioactive carbon-14 and artificially raising the radiocarbon ‘age’ of the atmosphere, according to a paper published in the PNAS.
Radiocarbon measurements have a range of uses, from analysing archaeological finds, to detecting fraudulent works of art, to identifying illegal ivory trading, to assessing the regeneration of brain cells in neurological patients. The new study suggests that some of these current uses will be affected over this century, depending on how much fossil fuel emissions increase or decrease.
The online Daily Times Gazette picked up the story and added this:
One of famous radiocarbon dating investigation is the Shroud of Turin, which allegedly has the image of Jesus Christ.
However, Scientists found that it was originated from 13th century, 1,200 years after the Death of Christ.