How is carbon dating used to determine the absolute age of fossils - How Carbon-14 Dating Works | HowStuffWorks


Human remains, fossils and organic materials from archaeological sites are all dated using carbon-14. Books, clothing and food remains are all archaeological artifacts that can be carbon dated. Carbon-based rocks, such as bitumen and tephra, can also be dated in this manner.

Each radioactive isotope decays by a fixed amount, and this amount is called the half-life . The half-life is the time required for half of the original sample of radioactive nuclei to decay. For example, if you start off with 1000 radioactive nuclei with a half-life of 10 days, you would have 500 left after 10 days; you would have 250 left after 20 days (2 half-lives); and so on. The half-life is always the same regardless of how many nuclei you have left, and this very useful property lies at the heart of radiocarbon dating.

…in thyroid functioning. Another isotope, carbon-14, is useful in studying abnormalities of metabolism that underlie diabetes, gout, anemia, and acromegaly. Various scanning devices and techniques have been developed, including tomography ( . ) and magnetic resonance imaging. See also radiology.


How is carbon dating used to determine the absolute age of fossils

How is carbon dating used to determine the absolute age of fossils