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Carbon14 in Diamonds? It shouldn't be there!

30 Apr, 201300:59

You've probably heard that, 'diamonds are a girl's best friend', but diamonds also teach us an important lesson about the age of the earth.

Diamonds are made of carbon. One rare type of carbon—known as carbon 14—is radioactive, which means that it breaks down over time. By measuring the amount of decay, scientists estimate how old something is. Some people think that carbon 14 dating proves things happened millions of years ago. But that is wrong, because carbon 14 decays so fast that something a million years old could not contain any carbon 14.

Geophysicist Dr John Baumgardner recently investigated the level of carbon 14 in diamonds. Many would've considered such research pointless, because the diamonds were supposedly over a billion years old, which meant all carbon 14 should've decayed. But the radiocarbon labs detected significant levels of carbon 14, which suggests the diamonds are much younger; only thousands of years.

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