PRESTON, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Surprises could be waiting right in your own backyard.
One man in Preston got quite a surprise when he discovered a mammoth tusk on his property.
USU and BYU both took a piece of the tusk for carbon dating.
Combustion of fossil fuels is “diluting the fraction of atmospheric carbon dioxide containing radiocarbon,” Graven told , the large amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make new organic material appear to be 1,000 years old based on today’s carbon-dating models.
By the year 2100, the atmosphere will have a radiocarbon age of 2,000 years old. If Graven's calculations are correct, carbon dating as we know it today will no longer be reliable by the year 2030.
The first lesson, Isotopes of Pennies, deals with isotopes and atomic mass.
The second lesson, Radioactive Decay: A Sweet Simulation of Half-life, introduces the idea of half-life.
"And according to USU, they said they haven't found any other mammoth remains in Cache Valley."Kasey's twin boys, Peyton and Krew, also dug around the gravel pit and found some other pieces of the tusk.
Kasey said these were pieces that were broken off with his backhoe on accident.
Which means scientists won’t be able to use carbon dating to distinguish between new materials and artifacts that are hundreds or thousands of years old.
(Carbon dating is already limited in scope because older artifacts have to be dated using other methods.
For instance, Lucy, the 3.2-million-year-old human ancestor, was dated by scientists who studied the volcanic flows and ashes in deposits where her bones were found.)“Given current emissions trends, fossil fuel emission-driven artificial ‘aging’ of the atmosphere is likely to occur much faster and with a larger magnitude than previously expected,” Graven wrote.
This lesson is the third in a three-part series about the nucleus, isotopes, and radioactive decay.
By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that all matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.