Uses radioisotopes carbon dating phonedatingline com

Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.

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A tiny amount of carbon-14 is produced naturally in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, and living things incorporate some of it into their tissues, building up to a constant, although very low, level.When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.Once a living thing dies, however, it no longer acquires carbon-14, and as time passes, the carbon-14 that was in the tissues decays.If a once-living artifact is discovered and analyzed many years after its death, with the remaining carbon-14 compared to the known constant level, an approximate age of the artifact can be determined.

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