Science of carbon dating
Limestone (calcium ate) can introduce much older carbon to a sample giving it the appearance of age.
Also, solar flare cycles and cycles in the protective magnetosphere affect how much radioactive carbon is produced in the atmosphere, but these have been relatively constant within the range that carbon dating is accurate (about 60,000 years ± 2,000 years).
In the late 1940s, American chemist Willard Libby developed a method for determining when the death of an organism had occurred.
He first noted that the cells of all living things contain atoms taken in from the organism's environment, including carbon; all organic compounds contain carbon.
Carbon 14 has a half-life of 5,780 years, and is continuously created in Earth's atmosphere through the interaction of nitrogen and gamma rays from outer space.
Because atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained fairly constant.
The term ‘half-life’ refers to the amount of time it takes for half of a sample’s radioactive isotopes to turn into a stable isotopes.
You and all other animals are made up of carbon fixed by plants (and nitrogen fixed by bacteria! So, if some of that carbon from plants/water is radioactive, so are you! For carbon-14 radiometric dating to be accurate, a fossil or artifact must be buried to avoid exposure to recently fixed radioactive carbon.
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Radiocarbon dating: carbon-14 decay rate, the earth.
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