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Name: Jason
Status: Student
Grade: 9-12
Location: NY
Country: United States
Date: March 2009


Question:
Your answer regarding Carbon 14 dating of diamonds was somewhat inadequate and I was hoping that you have come up with a more thorough explanation. What are the possible reasons for the test results that showed Carbon 14 in diamonds?



Replies:
Jason,

Carbon-14 gets included in all plant life through photosynthesis. Principle of carbon-14 dating: carbon-14 decays to nitrogen always, but after plant death it does not get replenished. Diamonds are relatively pure carbon that has been squeezed and heated under extreme conditions. Presumably, some of the pre-diamond carbon contained some carbon-14 isotopes.

Warren Young


It should be noted that the original response to this question was excellent and certainly not inadequate as proposed in this question. Please re-examine the original response again.

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/chem03/chem03211.htm

The author of the response offers the following source:

"Handbook of Isotopes in the Cosmos -- Hydrogen to Gallium" by Donald Clayton (Cambridge University Press 2003).

Steve Sample
NEWTON BBS



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