Radiocarbon dating dates the decay of Carbon-14 within organic matter.Organic matter needs to have been buried and preserved for this technique. It assumes that organic material is not contaminated with older radiocarbon (which, for example, is a common problem with organic material from marine sediment cores around Antarctica).
Organic carbon (OC) from multiple sources can be delivered contemporaneously to aquatic sediments.
The influence of different OC inputs on carbon-14–based sediment chronologies is illustrated in the carbon-14 ages of purified, source-specific (biomarker) organic compounds from near-surface sediments underlying two contrasting marine systems, the Black Sea and the Arabian Sea.
It is effective on timescales of several millions of years.
It assumes that boulders have not been buried and then re-exposed at the Earth’s surface.
Sediment cores that have remained ‘undisturbed’ for the last tens of thousands of years in Japan’s Lake Suigetsu.