The basis of radiocarbon dating is simple: all living things absorb carbon from the atmosphere and food sources around them, including a certain amount of natural, radioactive carbon-14. When the plant or animal dies, they stop absorbing, but the radioactive carbon that theyve accumulated continues to decay.
How does radiometric dating use carbon-14?
Radiocarbon dating method Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon, with a half-life of 5,730 years (which is very short compared with the above isotopes), and decays into nitrogen. This makes carbon-14 an ideal dating method to date the age of bones or the remains of an organism.
How is carbon-14 used for dating?
Over time, carbon-14 decays in predictable ways. And with the help of radiocarbon dating, researchers can use that decay as a kind of clock that allows them to peer into the past and determine absolute dates for everything from wood to food, pollen, poop, and even dead animals and humans.
How does radioactive dating work why is carbon-14 important?
Carbon-14 dating, also called radiocarbon dating, method of age determination that depends upon the decay to nitrogen of radiocarbon (carbon-14). Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon.