Example of carbon dating - BioMath: Carbon Dating - University of Arizona


The carbon-14 forms at a rate which appears to be constant, so that by measuring the radioactive emissions from once-living matter and comparing its activity with the equilibrium level of living things, a measurement of the time elapsed can be made.

The unstable isotope is brought to Earth by atmospheric activity, such as storms, and becomes fixed in the biosphere. Because it reacts identically to C-12 and C-13, C-14 becomes attached to complex organic molecules through photosynthesis in plants and becomes part of their molecular makeup. Animals eating those plants in turn absorb Carbon-14 as well as the stable isotopes. This process of ingesting C-14 continues as long as the plant or animal remains alive.


Example of carbon dating

Example of carbon dating