Bristlecone pine and carbon dating

For older dates the most satisfactory calibration base is the C-14/C-12 ratio of wood that has been dated by dendrochronology.In temperate climates wood cells that are produced in the beginning of the growing season are larger and have thinner walls than the cells produced in the latter part of the growing season.The density difference between early and late growth produces visible features known as tree rings.Variation in the width of these rings results from year-by-year variation in the conditions favorable to growth of a particular portion of a tree.

It appears that this original scheme is subject to reevaluation.Statistical tests show that it is easy to get significant matches of tree-ring patterns at various juxtapositions between samples of wood.More sophisticated statistical tests are being developed to correct for this problem.A base established in this manner requires guessing by interpolation for C-14/C-12 ratios that fall between values that have been calibrated by historical dates.Also it is insecure for extrapolation beyond the oldest firmly established historical calibration points.

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