Problems with relative dating techniques
So low is such a carbon-14 level that no one had detected natural carbon-14 until Libby, guided by his own predictions, set out specifically to measure it.
Invasion is probably not the proper word for a component that Libby calculated should be present only to the extent of about one atom in a trillion stable carbon atoms.To effectively determine the fate of spilled oil in the environment and to successfully identify source(s) of spilled oil and petroleum products is, therefore, extremely important in many oil-related environmental studies and liability cases.This article briefly reviews the recent development of chemical analysis methodologies which are most frequently used in oil spill characterization and identification studies and environmental forensic investigations.Since Libby’s foundational studies, tens of thousands of carbon-14 measurements of natural materials have been made.Expressed as a fraction of the contemporary level, they have been mathematically converted to ages through Improvements in measurement accuracy and the ever-mounting experience in applying carbon-14 dating have provided superior and more voluminous data with which to better answer Libby’s original questions.
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The fingerprinting and data interpretation techniques discussed include oil spill identification protocol, tiered analytical approach, generic features and chemical composition of oils, effects of weathering on hydrocarbon fingerprinting, recognition of distribution patterns of petroleum hydrocarbons, oil type screening and differentiation, analysis of “source-specific marker” compounds, determination of diagnostic ratios of specific oil constituents, stable isotopic analysis, application of various statistical and numerical analysis tools, and application of other analytical techniques.