What carbon dating

Then the radiocarbon dating measures remaining radioactivity.

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

Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope and is present in all living things in a constant amount.

Because of the carbon cycle, there is always carbon-14 present in both the air and in living organisms.

Atmospheric carbon-14 rapidly reacts with oxygen in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the carbon cycle.

By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in the organism, it's possible to work out how old it is.Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in 1960.Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contains a constant amount of carbon-14, and as long as an organism is living, the amount of carbon-14 inside it is the same as the atmosphere.Radioactive carbon-14 is continually formed in the atmosphere by the bombardment of cosmic ray neutrons on nitrogen-14 atoms.After it forms, carbon-14 naturally decomposes, with a half-life of 5,730 years, through beta-particle decay.

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