Carbon dating or radiocarbon dating

One of the most frequent uses of radiocarbon dating is to estimate the age of organic remains from archaeological sites.

Carbon dating, also known as radiocarbon dating, is a method of estimating the age of carbon-bearing materials up to 60,000 years old.

However, it is also used to determine ages of rocks, plants, trees, etc. When the sun’s rays reach them, a few of these particles turn into carbon 14 (a radioactive carbon).

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So, scientists can estimate the age of the fossil by looking at the level of decay in its radioactive carbon.Some chemical elements have more than one type of atom. Carbon has two stable, nonradioactive isotopes: carbon-12 (12C), and carbon-13 (13C).In addition, there are trace amounts of the unstable isotope carbon-14 (14C) on Earth.Carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life of 5730 years, meaning that the amount of carbon-14 in a sample is halved over the course of 5730 years due to radioactive decay.By about ten half-lives, or 58,000 years, the amount of carbon-14 left in the fossil is very little- about 1/1000 of the original number of carbon-14 atoms in the fossil.So, using carbon dating for fossils older than 60,000 years is unreliable.

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