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So, the difference between these two gives us the radiocarbon age of the water.
Collecting fossil corals at different depths is like collecting water profiles today.
For humans, the steady movement of the hands on a clock marks off the seconds and the hours.Fortunately, while a coral is growing it incorporates a lot of uranium, but no thorium.This means that as it ages its thorium/uranium ratio increases at a known rate.(Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)The uranium-thorium “age” of a coral provides the chronological age of the coral.The radiocarbon (14C) “age” of the coral is the age of the coral, plus the age of the water in which it grew.