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An explanation of radiocarbon dating

C is created in the atmosphere by cosmic radiation and is taken up by plants and animals as long as they live.

One of the most frequent uses of radiocarbon dating is to estimate the age of organic remains from archaeological sites.So, scientists can estimate the age of the fossil by looking at the level of decay in its radioactive carbon.Some chemical elements have more than one type of atom. Carbon has two stable, nonradioactive isotopes: carbon-12 (12C), and carbon-13 (13C).For example, Christian time counts the birth of Christ as the beginning, AD 1 (Anno Domini); everything that occurred before Christ is counted backwards from AD as BC (Before Christ).The Greeks consider the first Olympic Games as the beginning or 776 BC.Following a conference at the University of Cambridge in 1962, a more accurate figure of 5730 years was agreed upon and this figure is now known as the Cambridge half-life.When it comes to dating archaeological samples, several timescale problems arise.Carbon dating was developed by American scientist Willard Libby and his team at the University of Chicago.Libby calculated the half-life of carbon-14 as 5568, a figure now known as the Libby half-life.The explanation was that the physicists had assumed that the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere had been constant, when in fact it had varied over time.The solution came using dendrochronology (tree ring dating).


  1. Radiocarbon dating, also known as the C14 dating method, is a way of telling how old an object is. It is a type of radiometric dating. The method uses the radioactive.

  2. Scientific American Editor Michael Moyer explains the process of radiocarbon dating. What is Carbon Dating? Carbon is one of the chemical elements.

  3. WikipediaPeer review/Radiocarbon dating/archive1. with an explanation of the. "Radiocarbon dating is a method that uses a radioactive isotope of carbon to.

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