Scientists attempt to check the accuracy of carbon dating by comparing carbon dating data to data from other dating methods.
Other methods scientists use include counting rock layers and tree rings.
Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50,000 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).
Carbon dating cannot be used on most fossils, not only because they are almost always allegedly too old, but also because they rarely contain the original carbon of the organism that has been fossilized.
Also, many fossils are contaminated with carbon from the environment during collection or preservation procedures.
For all practical purposes, the original isotope is considered extinct after 6 half-life intervals. A small portion of a meteorite is vaporized in the device forming ions.
Increasingly, the other techniques are used, such that probably no one technique dominates for meteorite dating.
Rb-Sr is a good example for explaining the process, however.
Trees undergo spurts in growth in the spring and summer months while becoming somewhat dormant in the fall and winter months.
When a tree is cut down, these periods are exhibited in a cross section of the trunk in the form of rings.
Nuclear tests, nuclear reactors and the use of nuclear weapons have also changed the composition of radioisotopes in the air over the last few decades.