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For example, techniques based on isotopes with half lives in the thousands of years, such as carbon-14, cannot be used to date materials that have ages on the order of billions of years, as the detectable amounts of the radioactive atoms and their decayed daughter isotopes will be too small to measure within the uncertainty of the instruments.

One of the most widely used and well-known absolute dating techniques is carbon-14 (or radiocarbon) dating, which is used to date organic remains.

Because of these and other factors, Thermoluminescence is at the most about 15% accurate.Argon, a noble gas, is not commonly incorporated into such samples except when produced in situ through radioactive decay.The date measured reveals the last time that the object was heated past the closure temperature at which the trapped argon can escape the lattice.The relatively short half-life of carbon-14, 5,730 years, makes dating reliable only up to about 50,000 years.The technique often cannot pinpoint the date of an archeological site better than historic records, but is highly effective for precise dates when calibrated with other dating techniques such as tree-ring dating.

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