Carbon dating and half life calculations

Posted by / 06-Mar-2018 18:56

The Half Life is independent of the physical state (solid, liquid, gas) temperature, pressure, the chemical compound in which the nucleus finds itself, and essentially any other outside influence.

If a fossil contains 60% of its original carbon, how old is the fossil? That means this is how long it takes for half the nuclei to decay.

It uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 (14C) to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years old.

Carbon has two stable, nonradioactive isotopes: carbon-12 (12C) and carbon-13 (13C).

The carbon-14 decays with its half-life of 5,700 years, while the amount of carbon-12 remains constant in the sample.

By looking at the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the sample and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to determine the age of a formerly living thing fairly precisely. So, if you had a fossil that had 10 percent carbon-14 compared to a living sample, then that fossil would be: t = [ ln (0.10) / (-0.693) ] x 5,700 years t = [ (-2.303) / (-0.693) ] x 5,700 years t = [ 3.323 ] x 5,700 years Because the half-life of carbon-14 is 5,700 years, it is only reliable for dating objects up to about 60,000 years old.

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Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.

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