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Isotopes participate in the same chemical reactions but often at differing rates.When isotopes are to be designated specifically, the chemical symbol is expanded to identify the mass (for example, C is not stable.The pathway from the plant to the molecule may have been indirect or lengthy, involving multiple physical, chemical, and biological processes.Levels of C can represent either mixtures of modern and dead carbon or carbon that was fixed from the atmosphere less than 50,000 years ago.Unless the investigator was there to observe and measure all variables, it can never be known for certain that the final observed and measured ratios of a sample under investigation reflect a simple linear relationship going back into deep time.Thanks for your question Bill; it is very involved and has multiple lines of reasoning within it.For example, one study published by “a group of researchers from the U. Forest Service and the University of Minnesota” concludes fallen conifers will take 57 to 124 years to completely disintegrate, This, of course, depends on the exact environmental conditions, but fallen trees generally do not last for centuries, let alone millennia.
Obviously I am questioning the conclusions of that study.
First, just because several things agree does not make what they agree upon correct or true (i.e., ‘correlation does not prove causation’).
Second, while agreement on an outcome among several independent techniques is generally considered a good indication of a reasonably reliable outcome, all tree-ring chronologies are derived using the same basic assumptions, so they can hardly be considered to be independent determinations.
My article quoted a secular expert in dendrochronology, Dr.
Grissino-Mayer, who openly raised major questions regarding the reliability of dendrochronology at the 2015 Association of American Geographers annual meeting in Chicago.