Carbon 14 dating chemistry problems speed dating wikipdia
Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.
The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.
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This half life is a relatively small number, which means that carbon 14 dating is not particularly helpful for very recent deaths and deaths more than 50,000 years ago.
After 5,730 years, the amount of carbon 14 left in the body is half of the original amount.
If the amount of carbon 14 is halved every 5,730 years, it will not take very long to reach an amount that is too small to analyze.
When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.
Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.
Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon.