Radio carbon dating for dummies

An age could be estimated by measuring the amount of carbon-14 present in the sample and comparing this against an internationally used reference standard.

The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.

Over the years, carbon 14 dating has also found applications in geology, hydrology, geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, paleoclimatology and even biomedicine.

radio carbon dating for dummies-8

It is rapidly oxidized in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the global carbon cycle.

Plants and animals assimilate carbon 14 from carbon dioxide throughout their lifetimes.

This means that small amounts of Carbon-14 are present in your body whenever you breathe in, or eat.

Carbon-14 unlike Carbon-12 or 13 is unstable and slowly decays into Nitrogen-14 over the course of thousands of years.

Liquid scintillation counting is another radiocarbon dating technique that was popular in the 1960s.

In this method, the sample is in liquid form and a scintillator is added.There are many other Carbon isotopes, but the one we want to look at is called Carbon-14. Carbon-14 is produced as a reaction to cosmic rays in the Earths atmosphere. When the stocks of Oxalic Acid I were almost fully consumed, another standard was made from a crop of 1977 French beet molasses.The new standard, Oxalic Acid II, was proven to have only a slight difference with Oxalic Acid I in terms of radiocarbon content.This scintillator produces a flash of light when it interacts with a beta particle.

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