Radioactive isotopes used in carbon dating

The carbon-14 it contained at the time of death decays over a long period of time.

By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.

All radioactive decays follow first order kinetics.

Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years— during the succeeding 5,730 years.Radioactive dating allows the estimation of the age of any object which was alive once, using the natural radioactivity of .It also allows the estimation of the age of geological samples using the decay of long lived nuclides.With the help of half-life values of a suitable radioisotope of an element, which is present in a rock, or in an artifact, the age of the rock and the artifact can be determined.This is called Therefore the characteristic property of the radioisotope, namely its radioactivity can act as a tag or label, which permits the fate of the element or its compound containing this element to be traced through a series of chemical or physical changes.The radioactive isotope carbon-14 is created in the upper atmosphere when cosmic-ray particles from outer space strike nitrogen atoms and transform them into radioactive carbon.Some of the carbon-14 might find its way into living creatures.For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.Later called Ötzi the Iceman, small samples from his body were carbon dated by scientists.The rate at which a radioactive isotope decays is measured in half-life.The term half-life is defined as the time it takes for one-half of the atoms of a radioactive material to disintegrate.


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