Radiocarbon dating is a method of estimating the age of organic material. form carbon dioxide, which plants absorb naturally and incorporate into plant fibers Both Carbon and Carbon are stable, but Carbon decays by very weak. Carbon is a radioactive isotope of carbon, containing 6 protons and 8 It is naturally produced in the atmosphere by cosmic rays (and also artificially by nuclear . This fact is used in radiocarbon dating to determine the age of fossils up to 60 is no longer replenished, and the ratio of carbon to carbon decays in a. After that, the ratio of 14C to 12C) decreases as the radiocarbon decays. natural processes, but the "bomb spike" can be shown through the dating by means.
Dating a Fossil - Carbon Dating | HowStuffWorks
And every now and then-- and let's just be clear-- this isn't like a typical reaction. But every now and then one of those neutrons will bump into one of the nitrogen's in just the right way so that it bumps off one of the protons in the nitrogen and essentially replaces that proton with itself. So let me make it clear. So it bumps off one of the protons. So instead of seven protons we now have six protons. But this number 14 doesn't go down to 13 because it replaces it with itself.
So this still stays at And now since it only has six protons, this is no longer nitrogen, by definition. This is now carbon. And that proton that was bumped off just kind of gets emitted.
So then let me just do that in another color. And a proton that's just flying around, you could call that hydrogen 1. And it can gain an electron some ways. If it doesn't gain an electron, it's just a hydrogen ion, a positive ion, either way, or a hydrogen nucleus.
But this process-- and once again, it's not a typical process, but it happens every now and then-- this is how carbon forms. So this right here is carbon You can essentially view it as a nitrogen where one of the protons is replaced with a neutron.
And what's interesting about this is this is constantly being formed in our atmosphere, not in huge quantities, but in reasonable quantities. So let me write this down. And let me be very clear.
Let's look at the periodic table over here. So carbon by definition has six protons, but the typical isotope, the most common isotope of carbon is carbon So carbon is the most common. So most of the carbon in your body is carbon But what's interesting is that a small fraction of carbon forms, and then this carbon can then also combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide.
And then that carbon dioxide gets absorbed into the rest of the atmosphere, into our oceans. It can be fixed by plants. When people talk about carbon fixation, they're really talking about using mainly light energy from the sun to take gaseous carbon and turn it into actual kind of organic tissue. And so this carbon, it's constantly being formed. It makes its way into oceans-- it's already in the air, but it completely mixes through the whole atmosphere-- and the air.
And then it makes its way into plants.
Carbon 14 dating 1
And plants are really just made out of that fixed carbon, that carbon that was taken in gaseous form and put into, I guess you could say, into kind of a solid form, put it into a living form. That's what wood pretty much is. It gets put into plants, and then it gets put into the things that eat the plants.
So that could be us. Now why is this even interesting?
How Carbon-14 Dating Works
I've just explained a mechanism where some of our body, even though carbon is the most common isotope, some of our body, while we're living, gets made up of this carbon thing. Well, the interesting thing is the only time you can take in this carbon is while you're alive, while you're eating new things.
Because as soon as you die and you get buried under the ground, there's no way for the carbon to become part of your tissue anymore because you're not eating anything with new carbon And what's interesting here is once you die, you're not going to get any new carbon And that carbon that you did have at you're death is going to decay via beta decay-- and we learned about this-- back into nitrogen So kind of this process reverses.
So it'll decay back into nitrogen, and in beta decay you emit an electron and an electron anti-neutrino. I won't go into the details of that. But essentially what you have happening here is you have one of the neutrons is turning into a proton and emitting this stuff in the process.
Now why is this interesting? So I just said while you're living you have kind of straight-up carbon And carbon is constantly doing this decay thing.
But what's interesting is as soon as you die and you're not ingesting anymore plants, or breathing from the atmosphere if you are a plant, or fixing from the atmosphere. And this even applies to plants. Once a plant dies, it's no longer taking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turning it into new tissue. The carbon in that tissue gets frozen. Carbon Dating - The Controversy Carbon dating is controversial for a couple of reasons.
First of all, it's predicated upon a set of questionable assumptions. We have to assume, for example, that the rate of decay that is, a 5, year half-life has remained constant throughout the unobservable past. However, there is strong evidence which suggests that radioactive decay may have been greatly accelerated in the unobservable past. We also know that the ratio decreased during the industrial revolution due to the dramatic increase of CO2 produced by factories.
This man-made fluctuation wasn't a natural occurrence, but it demonstrates the fact that fluctuation is possible and that a period of natural upheaval upon the earth could greatly affect the ratio.
Carbon 14 Dating - Math Central
Volcanoes spew out CO2 which could just as effectively decrease the ratio. Specimens which lived and died during a period of intense volcanism would appear older than they really are if they were dated using this technique. The ratio can further be affected by C production rates in the atmosphere, which in turn is affected by the amount of cosmic rays penetrating the earth's atmosphere.
The amount of cosmic rays penetrating the earth's atmosphere is itself affected by things like the earth's magnetic field which deflects cosmic rays. Precise measurements taken over the last years have shown a steady decay in the strength of the earth's magnetic field. This means there's been a steady increase in radiocarbon production which would increase the ratio.
And finally, this dating scheme is controversial because the dates derived are often wildly inconsistent. Walt Brown, In the Beginning,p. Godthe Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.
Jesusthe creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buriedand rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Saviordeclaring, " Jesus is Lord ," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.
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