8 votes
Accepted

Odd Inuksuk-like objects

I can engage in some educated speculation about what you think you see, but I'm confident you were fooled by the shadows in the image, which are caused by a low sun angle and distorted by the terrain. ...
  • 3,143
7 votes
Accepted

Do fluctuations in radioactive isotope decay rates affect carbon dating techniques?

First off, the purported variations were reported to be cyclical. So the net effect on archeological dating would be null even if these variations existed. Secondly, these purported variations are ...
  • 20.7k
5 votes
Accepted

Are Pompeii and Herculaneum unique?

Probably the best known is more recent, the 1902 eruption of Mt. Pelée on Martinique, where 30,000 people were killed by pyroclastic flows. I don't know the extent of burial - it appears that the city ...
  • 4,339
4 votes

Do archaeologists deliberately leave parts of sites untouched so that someone can come back later?

Yes. From this article in National Geographic: The last step before digging is to divide the site into a grid to keep track of the location of each find. Then archaeologists choose sample ...
  • 1,027
4 votes

Is Radiocarbon dating flawed?

I will preface this by saying that I am not particularly familiar with radiocarbon dating techniques, and therefore the minutiae are somewhat lost on me. However, as someone who works with several ...
  • 186
3 votes

What makes pollen varieties useful index fossils?

Depends upon the species. If the pollen spores are large enough, and of wide spatial distribution, and easily recognizable, and preserves well in sediments, and of distinctive age range (geologically),...
3 votes

Are Pompeii and Herculaneum unique?

Here is another example: Ceren (El Salvador) around A.D. 660 (discovered in 1978). Ceren is believed to have been home to about 200 people. Researchers have excavated 12 buildings, including living ...
  • 2,636
3 votes

Do fluctuations in radioactive isotope decay rates affect carbon dating techniques?

I've never heard of this exact type of variations, but there are many other variables that are considered by the scientists making radiocarbon dating, such as: C-14/C-12 ratio - this leads to ...
  • 966
2 votes

Can paleomagnetic techniques determine the exact direction of Earth's magnetic poles in the past, not just their polarity?

An important distinction is what kind of magnetic pole we're talking about. The "exact direction of Earth's magnetic poles", would be the dip poles, and no, we can't determine these as we ...
  • 881
2 votes

What makes pollen varieties useful index fossils?

In addition to what @GordonStanger said, there are a few other points to consider. Pollens and spores are made out of sporopollenin which preserves way better than what one would expect. Although ...
  • 5,278
1 vote

How do we know how much Uranium was in any given sample when it was deposited?

The field of nuclear physics has established the radioactive decay series for radioactive elements (see here as well). Unlike Uranium 238, Uranium 234 is not primordial nuclide. It is a indirect ...
  • 21.9k
1 vote

How do we know how much Uranium was in any given sample when it was deposited?

The chemistry of lead is very different from that of uranium and thorium. There are key kinds of rock that could not possibly have been formed with even the smallest amount of primordial lead. The ...
  • 20.7k
1 vote

Odd Inuksuk-like objects

Your "Inuksuk" is simply a lucky combination of the sun's angle grazing an erosional remnant of the adjacent riverbank. If you go upriver, you'll see the same erosional remnant, now with ...

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