What is carbon dating means

Related to radiocarbon dating: Potassium argon dating. A form of radiometric dating used to determine the age of organic remains in ancient objects, such as archaeological specimens, on the basis of the half-life of carbon and a comparison between the ratio of carbon to carbon in a sample of the remains to the known ratio in living organisms. Also called carbon dating , carbon dating. All rights reserved.

radiocarbon dating

Is Carbon Dating Accurate?

Carbon dating , also known as radiocarbon dating, is a scientific procedure used to date organic matter. It depends upon the radioactive decay of carbon C 14 , an unstable isotope of carbon which is continually synthesized in the upper atmosphere by cosmic rays. Plants take up atmospheric C 14 for as long as they live, through the process of photosynthesis. Animals take up atmospheric C 14 indirectly, by eating plants or by eating other animals that eat plants. Measuring the proportion of C 14 as opposed to C 12 remaining in a sample then tells us how long ago the sample stopped taking up C 14 — in other words, how long ago the thing died.

How Accurate is Carbon Dating?

Radiocarbon dating also referred to as carbon dating or carbon dating is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon , a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was developed in the late s at the University of Chicago by Willard Libby , who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in It is based on the fact that radiocarbon 14 C is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen. The resulting 14 C combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide , which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis ; animals then acquire 14 C by eating the plants.
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