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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.

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But I could not and should not satisfy myself with this support without repaying by demonstrating where the difficulties and pitfalls of the method are hidden.

In the cataclysmic events reconstructed in Worlds in Collision and also those that preceded the fall of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, various effects could not but vitiate the radiocarbon performance, some of these effects tending to make organic life appear older than its actual age, and others making it appear more recent.

The method caught the fancy of the radiocarbon researchers.

However, three or four rings formed in one year is not uncommon, especially if the tree grows on a slope, with the ground several times in a year turning wet and dry because of rapid outflow of water (Glueck et al., Botanical Review, 7, 649-713; and 21, 245-365).

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).