The organic samples found at the bottom of Lake Suigetsu have been entrenched in mud for "tens of thousands of years" (Photo : Flickr: double-h)
Ancient organic material such as leaves and twigs found at the bottom of Lake Suigetsu in Japan show promise in providing scientists with more accurate metrics for carbon dating.
Currently, scientists use samples from the ocean to determine the level of carbon in the Earth's atmosphere at any given time, imposing a margin of error on results that must be corrected for. Business Insider reports that " a very exact level of Carbon 14 can be determined for any given year, and adjustments don't need to be made like in ocean samples."
Like Us on Facebook
Climate Scientist at the University of New South Wales states, "This is massively important. You've got all these different records all scattered around the planet and nobody's known how to link them all in."
While the amount of Carbon 12 to Carbon 14 ratios are variable, the organic material found at the bottom of Lake Suigetsu has been preserved in an environment void of dissolved oxygen for "tens of thousands of years," says ZME Science.
The University of Oxford released a statement that reads "[The cores] display layers of sediment for each year, giving scientists the means of counting back the years. These counts are compared with over 800 radiocarbon dates from the preserved fossil leaves. The only other direct record of atmospheric carbon comes from tree rings, but this only goes back to 12,593 years ago. The Lake Suigetsu record extends much further to 52,800 years ago, increasing the direct radiocarbon record by more than 40,000 years."