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The complex was formed by explosive volcanism from multiple coalescing eruptive centers, episodic intrusion of alkaline igneous rocks (ranging from phonolite to lamprophyre), development of funnel-shaped breccia pipes, and repeated eruption and subsidence cycles.A two-phased mineralizing event closely followed emplacement of the volcanic complex.Purpose To determine the absolute age of wood and organic artifacts.Method A scientific date is either absolute (specific to one point in time) or relative (younger or older than something else).Once the timeline exists, the age of similar wood (e.g., from a nearby house) can be established by pattern-matching.The ultimate tree-ring chronology is the 'master' timeline of bristlecone pines - a chronology spanning more than 9,000 years.Furthermore, a cored exploration hole drilled in 2003 intersected a small piece of carbonized fossil wood in tuff and rock fragments of the Cripple Creek Breccia at a vertical depth of 3,079 feet beneath the surface under the mine.The postulated mechanism responsible for burying this fossil wood so deeply within this volcanic complex is the subsidence that followed many violent volcanic eruptions.

Thus, organic materials supposedly millions of years old should not contain any radiocarbon whatsoever.A range of solvent extraction protocols was tested to identify the most suitable one for pretreating the Pitch Lake artifacts, and then applied to ten wooden objects and a human cranium recovered from the lake.Several of these objects yielded earlier dates than expected, raising concerns that pitch had remained after pretreatment and had affected the dates.Bristlecones grow so slowly that a century of tree rings adds less than an inch of girth.The precise, extended chronology of these trees is directly responsible for the accuracy of radiocarbon dating.

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