Advantages and disadvantages of radiocarbon dating

Volcanic dust, climate change, tsunamis, earthquakes—geoscience explores phenomena that profoundly affect our lives. It is a wonderful primer on geology, and a clear explanation of how the science is done.”—Rob Hardy “Mac Dougall has given us a gem, a book that removes emotion and apocalyptic hyperbole from the equation and provides a sober analysis of why most scientists have come to the conclusion they have about how human activity has started to play a role in the Earth’s climate.”—Jim Trageser “Macdougall does a masterful job of exploring the questions, dilemmas, and insights that have led to today’s scientific understanding of the composition of our planet.

advantages and disadvantages of radiocarbon dating-78

Why does the temperature of the ocean millions of years ago matter today? A few people took the news very seriously, sold their houses, and moved elsewhere.

How are efforts to predict earthquakes progressing? Others, a bit less cautious, simply sought out high ground on April 4, the date of the Big One according to several of the predictors.

Macdougall also explains the legacy of greenhouse gases from Earth’s past and shows how that legacy shapes our understanding of today’s human-caused climate change. Cartoonists and newspaper columnists had a field day poking fun at the earthquake scare, and for us geology students the hubbub was amusing but also seemed a bit bizarre.

We find that geoscience in fact illuminates many of today’s most pressing issues—the availability of energy, access to fresh water, sustainable agriculture, maintaining biodiversity—and we discover how, by applying new technologies and ideas, we can use it to prepare for the future. Police and fire stations, along with university geology departments, got thousands of anxious telephone calls from nervous citizens.

“What you will find in this clearly written and instructive book is a summary of what geologists do (it isn't just dig for oil or other valuables), how they have come to understand the immense range of times involved in Earth's creation and transformation into our livable world, and most importantly how geology, thought of as the dusty study of ancient ages, is key to understanding the most important of the resource and environmental issues that will confront us in the future.

He is the author of Nature’s Clocks: How Scientists Measure the Age of Almost Everything; Frozen Earth: The Once and Future Story of Ice Ages (both from UC Press); and A Short History of Planet Earth.

Why Geology Matters Bibliography and Further Reading Index Doug Macdougall is Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

Swimming, Crawling, and Flying toward the Present 13.

Ronald Reagan, then the state's governor, had to explain that his out-of-state vacation that month had been planned long in advance and had nothing to do with earthquakes.


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