why is interratial dating so popular - What radiocarbon dating be used on

The most well-known of all the radiometric dating methods is radiocarbon dating.

what radiocarbon dating be used on-22

To measure the rate of decay, a suitable detector records the number of beta particles ejected from a measured quantity of carbon over a period of time, say a month (for illustration purposes).

Since each beta particle represents one decayed carbon-14 atom, we know how many carbon-14 atoms decayed during that month.

Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.

Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases.

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.

If the level is constant, living plants and animals should also maintain a constant carbon-14 level in them.

The reason is that, as long as the organism is alive, it replaces any carbon molecules that have decayed into nitrogen.

Let’s suppose we find a mammoth’s skull, and we want to date it to determine how long ago it lived.

Tags: , ,