When objects of the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom of Egypt yielded carbon dates that appeared roughly comparable with the historical dates, Libby made his method known.With initial large margin of error and anything that did not square with expectation, judged as contaminated, the method appeared to work and was hailed as completely reliablejust as the atomic clock is reliableand this nobody doubted.
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Therefore the claim was made that the magnetosphere around the earth, discovered in 1958, suffered occasional weakening, thus allowing more cosmic rays to pass it and to hit the nitrogen atoms in the upper atmosphere, changing them to radiocarbon.
It was further claimed that the magnetic field of the earth might have reversed its polarity in the last 40 thousand years, a phenomenon known to have happened in geological epochs.
Speaking of my research as far as it affects the radiocarbon dating method, I would like to separate the finds concerning natural events (Worlds in Collision, Earth in Upheaval) from finds concerning the true chronology of Egypt and of the ancient World in general (Ages in Chaos).
Libbys discoveries, published in 1952, gave immediate support and even vindication to three independent conclusions of my research into natural events of the past.
The Mexicologist, Professor George Kubler of Yale, stressed that certain traditions contained in Mesoamerican heritage were referred by me to events of the pre-Christian era.
Kubler insisted that this heritage could not date from the 8th to 4th pre-Christian centuries, but rather was generated in the 4th to 8th century of the Christian era.The correctness of the method depends greatly on the condition that in the last 40 or 50 thousand years the quantity of water in the hydrosphere (and carbon diluted in it) has not substantially changed. The method depends also on the condition that during the same period of time the influx of cosmic rays or energy particles coming from the stars and the sun has not suffered substantial variations.To check on the method before applying it on various historical and paleontological material, Libby chose material of Egyptian archaeology, under the assumption that no other historical material from over 2,000 years ago is so secure as to its absolute dating.Bursts of cosmic rays and of electrical discharges on an interplanetary scale would make organic-life surviving the catastrophes much richer in radiocarbon and therefore, when carbon dated, that organic matter would appear much closer to our time than actually true.But if the invasion of the terrestrial atmosphere by dead (non-radioactive) carbon from volcanic eruptions, from meteoric dust, from burning oil and coal and centuries-old forests, predominated the picture, then the changed balance of radioactive and of radio-inert carbon would make everything in the decades following the event appear much older.Now let us review in the light of research in cosmic catastrophism the correctives that, in our view, need to be introduced into the method.