Radiocarbon dating dates back to
Basis of Radiocarbon Dating Problems with Radiocarbon Dating The Earth's Magnetic Field Table 1 Effect of Increasing Earth's Magnetic Field Removal of Carbon From the Biosphere Water Vapour Canopy Effect on Radiocarbon Dating Figure 1 Apparent Radiocarbon Dates Heartwood and Frozen Time Early Post-Flood Trees Appendix Radiocarbon Date Table HOW ACCURATE IS RADIOCARBON DATING? The normal carbon atom has six protons and six neutrons in its nucleus, giving a total atomic mass of 12.
Radiocarbon dating is frequently used to date ancient human settlements or tools. It is a stable atom that will not change its atomic mass under normal circumstances.
When an organism dies, it stops assimilating more carbon, so the 14C is no longer being replaced. Within in about thirty-thousand years, however, the amount of 14C that is left can be used to calculate about when the organism died based on the fact that all radioactive decay occurs with a given half life.
The half-life of a radioactive material is the amount of time that is required for half of the substance to decay.
Radiocarbon dating is based on the fact that organisms contain approximately equal amounts of normal 12C and 14C (carbon-12 and carbon-14).
Carbon 14 is radioactive, so it decays over time into other atoms.
The tiny initial amount of C14, the relatively rapid rate of decay (the half-life of C14 is currently about 5700 years) and the ease with which samples can become contaminated make radiocarbon dating results for samples "older" than about 50,000 years effectively meaningless.
The ions produced are forced into a magnetic field where the different mass of the carbon isotopes causes a different deflection, allowing the quantity of each isotope to be measured.