Explain how radiocarbon dating works new dating sites for european persons
The carbon-14 atoms combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which plants absorb naturally and incorporate into plant fibers by photosynthesis.Animals and people take in carbon-14 by eating the plants.The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.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.By measuring the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the sample and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to determine the age of the artifact.Carbon-14 is continually formed in nature by the interaction of neutrons with nitrogen-14 in the Earth’s atmosphere; the neutrons required for this reaction are produced by cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere.Radiocarbon present in molecules of atmospheric carbon dioxide enters the biological carbon cycle: it is absorbed from the air by green plants and then passed on to animals through the food chain.
After the organism dies it stops taking in new carbon.
To measure the amount of radiocarbon left in a artifact, scientists burn a small piece to convert it into carbon dioxide gas.
Radiation counters are used to detect the electrons given off by decaying Carbon-14 as it turns into nitrogen.
As you learned in the previous page, carbon dating uses the half-life of Carbon-14 to find the approximate age of certain objects that are 40,000 years old or younger.
In the following section we are going to go more in-depth about carbon dating in order to help you get a better understanding of how it works.
Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases.