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Geologists often need to know the age of material that they find.They use absolute dating methods, sometimes called numerical dating, to give rocks an actual date, or date range, in number of years.Because of the fairly fast decay rate of carbon-14, it can only be used on material up to about 60,000 years old.

This technique is widely used on recent artifacts, but educators and students alike should note that this technique will not work on older fossils (like those of the dinosaurs alleged to be millions of years old).

Levels of carbon-14 become difficult to measure and compare after about 50,000 years (between 8 and 9 half lives; where 1% of the original carbon-14 would remain undecayed).

The question should be whether or not carbon-14 can be used to date any artifacts at all? There are a few categories of artifacts that can be dated using carbon-14; however, they cannot be more than 50,000 years old.

This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.

These use radioactive minerals in rocks as geological clocks.

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