Start Carbon 14 radiometric dating used

Carbon 14 radiometric dating used

No other scientific method has managed to revolutionize man’s understanding not only of his present but also of events that already happened thousands of years ago.

Any dead material incorporated with sedimentary deposits is a possible candidate for carbon-14 dating.

Radiometric dating has been used to determine the ages of the Earth, Moon, meteorites, ages of fossils, including early man, timing of glaciations, ages of mineral deposits, recurrence rates of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the history of reversals of Earth's magnetic field, and many of other geological events and processes.

An age could be estimated by measuring the amount of carbon-14 present in the sample and comparing this against an internationally used reference standard.

The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.

All rocks and minerals contain tiny amounts of these radioactive elements.

Radioactive elements are unstable; they breakdown spontaneously into more stable atoms over time, a process known as radioactive decay.

By knowing how much carbon 14 is left in a sample, the age of the organism when it died can be known.

It must be noted though that radiocarbon dating results indicate when the organism was alive but not when a material from that organism was used.

Once the organism dies, it stops replenishing its carbon supply, and the total carbon-14 content in the organism slowly disappears.

Scientists can determine how long ago an organism died by measuring how much carbon-14 is left relative to the carbon-12.

Carbon-14 has a half life of 5730 years, meaning that 5730 years after an organism dies, half of its carbon-14 atoms have decayed to nitrogen atoms.