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In 1960, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work.
The resulting neutrons ( but attempts to measure the production rate directly in situ were not very successful.
Dating a specific sample of fossilized carbonaceous material is more complicated.
Such deposits often contain trace amounts of carbon-14.
These amounts can vary significantly between samples, ranging up to 1% of the ratio found in living organisms, a concentration comparable to an apparent age of 40,000.), or other unknown secondary sources of carbon-14 production.
The presence of carbon-14 in the isotopic signature of a sample of carbonaceous material possibly indicates its contamination by biogenic sources or the decay of radioactive material in surrounding geologic strata.