Does radiocarbon dating work


29-Aug-2017 21:50

Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed.The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay.Since plants get most of their carbon from atmospheric $\ce$, the relative amount of $^\ce$ to $\ce$ is thus constant. Now a living organism based on carbon (like us) always has a stable amount of $^\ce$ in his body, because he has to eat and so there is a stable balance between $^\ce$, $^\ce$ and $^\ce$.Now if that organism dies, it does not eat anymore, so there is no new income of $^\ce$.This predictability allows the relative abundances of related nuclides to be used as a clock to measure the time from the incorporation of the original nuclides into a material to the present.

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Isotopic systems that have been exploited for radiometric dating have half-lives ranging from only about 10 years (e.g., tritium) to over 100 billion years (e.g., samarium-147).

After one half-life has elapsed, one half of the atoms of the nuclide in question will have decayed into a "daughter" nuclide or decay product.



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