Uses radioisotopes carbon dating
Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon.
At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.
Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.
The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.
A is a substance that can be used to follow the pathway of that substance through some structure.
For instance, leaks in underground water pipes can be discovered by running some tritium-containing water through the pipes and then using a Geiger counter to locate any radioactive tritium subsequently present in the ground around the pipes.
In the case of radiocarbon dating, the half-life of carbon 14 is 5,730 years.
If the amount of carbon 14 is halved every 5,730 years, it will not take very long to reach an amount that is too small to analyze.
When finding the age of an organic organism we need to consider the half-life of carbon 14 as well as the rate of decay, which is –0.693.
For example, say a fossil is found that has 35% carbon 14 compared to the living sample. We can use a formula for carbon 14 dating to find the answer.
Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.
The half-life of a radioactive isotope describes the amount of time that it takes half of the isotope in a sample to decay.