Alternatives radio carbon dating

All organisms have a certain amount of 14C present in their bodies – it is absorbed out of the atmosphere by plants during the process of photosynthesis, and transferred to animals when the plants are eaten.

While alive, organisms experience a balance of 14C intake and dissipation.

Scientists use a technique called radiometric dating to estimate the ages of rocks, fossils, and the earth.

Many people have been led to believe that radiometric dating methods have proved the earth to be billions of years old.

Radiocarbon is not suitable for this purpose because it is only applicable: a) on a time scale of thousands of years and b) to remains of once-living organisms (with minor exceptions, from which rocks are excluded).

When an organism dies, the intake of 14C ceases, and what was left in the organism begins a measurable disintegration.

Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5730 years (±40 years), meaning that (in accordance with the law of radioactive decay) it will take that length of time for half of the carbon present in an organism to decay into stable carbon isotopes.

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Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in “lead” pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes.

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