Carbon age dating

When these energetic neutrons collide with a nitrogen-14 (seven protons, seven neutrons) atom it turns into a carbon-14 atom (six protons, eight neutrons) and a hydrogen atom (one proton, zero neutrons).

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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.Radioactive elements are unstable; they breakdown spontaneously into more stable atoms over time, a process known as radioactive decay.Radioactive decay occurs at a constant rate, specific to each radioactive isotope.As you learned in the previous page, carbon dating uses the half-life of Carbon-14 to find the approximate age of certain objects that are 40,000 years old or younger.In the following section we are going to go more in-depth about carbon dating in order to help you get a better understanding of how it works.

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