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Origin of carbon 14 dating

Most frequently, cosmic rays are protons, but a handful are heavier ions and a few are even humble electrons.

From diamonds to nanotubes to DNA, carbon is indispensable for constructing practically all of the most intricate structures we know of.

There’s no evidence of an unusually large solar flare or any other bizarre solar activity, so that can’t be the culprit, either.

What this seen an increase in levels like this, but it’s only recently that our sophistication in measuring the carbon-14 levels in old tree rings like this has allowed us to test this. Looks like we’re going to have to unearth more old trees that can be radiocarbon-dated back to these years, and see whether they have elevated levels of carbon-14 in them.

Most of the carbon in our world comes from long-dead stars, in the form of Carbon-12: carbon atoms containing six neutrons in their nucleus.

About 1.1% of all carbon is Carbon-13, with one extra neutron.

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