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Aboveground nuclear testing almost doubled the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere. The black arrow shows when the Partial Test Ban Treaty was enacted that banned aboveground nuclear tests. A special kind of radiocarbon dating: Bomb radiocarbon dating.

As we mentioned above, the carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio in the atmosphere remains nearly constant.

is a term for radiocarbon dating based on timestamps left by above-ground nuclear explosions, and it is especially useful for putting an absolute age on organisms that lived through those events.

In The Cosmic Story of Carbon-14 Ethan Siegel writes: The only major fluctuation [in carbon-14] we know of occurred when we began detonating nuclear weapons in the open air, back in the mid-20th century.

This plot shows the level of carbon-14 in the atmosphere as measured in New Zealand (red) and Austria (green), representing the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, respectively.Radiometric dating is possible because the radioactive decay of large numbers of radioactive atoms follows a predictable pattern.This predictability allows scientists to measure the age of an object if they can work out how many radioactive atoms were originally present.Once the rock cools and solidifies, Argon that is formed by radioactive decay is trapped inside.As no Argon was present in the rock when it first solidified, all Argon in the rock is due to the radioactive decay of Potassium.

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