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Radiocarbon dating: radioactive carbon decays to nitrogen with a half-life of 5730 years.In dead material, the decayed 14C is not replaced and its concentration in the object decreases slowly.Plants and animals naturally incorporate both the abundant C-12 isotope and the much rarer radiocarbon isotope into their tissues in about the same proportions as the two occur in the atmosphere during their lifetimes.When a creature dies, it ceases to consume more radiocarbon while the C-14 already in its body continues to decay back into nitrogen.Because of the somewhat short half-life of 14C, radiocarbon dating is not applicable to samples with ages greater than about 50,000 years, because the remaining concentration would be too small for accurate measurement.
We also know that the ratio decreased during the industrial revolution due to the dramatic increase of CO produced by factories.
After about 10 half-lives, the amount of radiocarbon left becomes too miniscule to measure and so this technique isn't useful for dating specimens which died more than 60,000 years ago.
Another limitation is that this technique can only be applied to organic material such as bone, flesh, or wood. Carbon Dating - The Premise Carbon dating is a dating technique predicated upon three things: Carbon Dating - The Controversy Carbon dating is controversial for a couple of reasons.
To obtain a truly absolute chronology, corrections must be made, provided by measurements on samples of know age.
The most suitable types of sample for radiocarbon dating are charcoal and well-preserved wood, although leather, cloth, paper, peat, shell and bone can also be used.
This is how carbon dating works: Carbon is a naturally abundant element found in the atmosphere, in the earth, in the oceans, and in every living creature.