Explain the process of carbon 14 dating
However, it is also used to determine ages of rocks, plants, trees, etc. When the sun’s rays reach them, a few of these particles turn into carbon 14 (a radioactive carbon).The highest rate of carbon-14 production takes place at altitudes of 9 to 15 km (30,000 to 50,000 ft).Some chemical elements have more than one type of atom. Carbon has two stable, nonradioactive isotopes: carbon-12 (12C), and carbon-13 (13C).In addition, there are trace amounts of the unstable isotope carbon-14 (14C) on Earth.Plants take in atmospheric carbon dioxide by photosynthesis, and are ingested by animals.So, every living thing is constantly exchanging carbon-14 with its environment as long as it lives. The carbon in its body will remain until it decomposes or fossilizes.
Carbon dioxide also permeates the oceans, dissolving in the water.
Carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life of 5730 years, meaning that the amount of carbon-14 in a sample is halved over the course of 5730 years due to radioactive decay.
By about ten half-lives, or 58,000 years, the amount of carbon-14 left in the fossil is very little- about 1/1000 of the original number of carbon-14 atoms in the fossil.
The amount of carbon-14 gradually decreases through radioactive beta decay with a half-life of 5,730 years.
So, scientists can estimate the age of the fossil by looking at the level of decay in its radioactive carbon.
So, using carbon dating for fossils older than 60,000 years is unreliable.