The bomb pulse is the sudden increase of carbon 14 C in the Earth's atmosphere due to the hundreds of aboveground nuclear bombs tests that started in and intensified between untilwhen the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed by the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. Carbon, the radioisotope of carbon, is naturally developed in trace amounts in the atmosphere and it can be detected in all living organisms. Carbon of all types is continually used to form the molecules of the cells of organisms. Doubling of the concentration of 14 C in the atmosphere is reflected in the tissues and cells of all organisms that lived around the period of nuclear testing.
Activists in the anti-Bomb movement were surprised in the spring of when, after finishing a particularly dirty fallout-heavy series of tests, the Soviets called for an immediate halt to all nuclear testing, an obvious political move timed to generate worldwide support and to highlight -- and possibly prevent -- an upcoming US test series.
Sincescientists have reckoned the ages of many old objects by measuring the amounts of radioactive carbon they contain. New research shows, however, that some estimates based on carbon may have erred by thousands of years. It is too soon to know whether the discovery will seriously upset the estimated dates of events like the arrival of human beings in the Western Hemisphere, scientists said.
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