Uses of radioactive carbon dating
The carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants, and the plants are eaten by animals, thus contaminating every living thing on earth with radioactive carbon. As time passes, the C14 in its tissues is converted back into nitrogen.If we know what the original ratios of C14 to C12 were in the organism when it died, and if we know that the sample has not been contaminated by contact with other carbon since its death, we should be able to calculate when it died by its C14 to C12 ratio. Basis of Radiocarbon Dating Problems with Radiocarbon Dating The Earth's Magnetic Field Table 1 Effect of Increasing Earth's Magnetic Field Removal of Carbon From the Biosphere Water Vapour Canopy Effect on Radiocarbon Dating Figure 1 Apparent Radiocarbon Dates Heartwood and Frozen Time Early Post-Flood Trees Appendix Radiocarbon Date Table HOW ACCURATE IS RADIOCARBON DATING? The normal carbon atom has six protons and six neutrons in its nucleus, giving a total atomic mass of 12.Radiocarbon dating is frequently used to date ancient human settlements or tools. It is a stable atom that will not change its atomic mass under normal circumstances.The nitrogen atom, which began with seven protons and seven neutrons, is left with only six protons and eight neutrons.As the number of protons decides the chemical nature of an atom, the atom now behaves like a carbon atom.But in actual practice, we know neither the original ratios nor if the specimen has been contaminated and are forced to make what we hope are reasonable assumptions.
The proton takes an electron with it and becomes an atom of hydrogen.
It is the supposed accuracy of the new method that allows measurements sensitive enough to date objects claimed to be more than twenty or thirty thousand years old.
A recent test by the British Science and Engineering Research Council has shown that the accuracy of the new technique is greatly overrated.
Radioactive carbon (Carbon 14) is formed in the upper atmosphere as a byproduct of cosmic radiation.
Cosmic rays are positively charged atoms moving at enormous speeds.