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By cross-matching tree-ring sequences in individual specimens a long, continuous tree-ring chronology is constructed with very little dating uncertainty. for more information on tree-ring chronologies.) By measuring radiocarbon concentrations in these tree-rings of known age a calibration table is constructed giving the true date of a sample versus its raw radiocarbon date.The raw radiocarbon date of any sample can then be converted to true date by using this calibration table.Fortunately, Willard Libby, a scientist who would later win the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, developed the process known as radiocarbon dating in the late 1940s. In a nutshell, it works like this: After an organism dies, it stops absorbing carbon-14, so the radioactive isotope starts to decay and is not replenished.
Radiocarbon dating works by precisely measuring the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in a sample. The tree-ring chronologies have been constructed by counting the annual rings in living trees and matching patterns in these rings to older wood and dead trees.Radiocarbon is not stable; over time radiocarbon atoms decay into nitrogen atoms.This tendency to decay, called radioactivity, is what gives radiocarbon the name radiocarbon.For example, it makes it possible to compare the ages of objects on a worldwide scale, allowing for indispensible comparisons across the globe.Before this, it was anyone's guess how different digs' timelines compared to one another over great distances.