How is radiactive dating performed
Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50,000 years old.
This technique is widely used on recent artifacts, but educators and students alike should note that this technique will not work on older fossils (like those of the dinosaurs alleged to be millions of years old).
View the full list Radiocarbon dating has transformed our understanding of the past 50,000 years.
Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in 1949 and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.
While the lighter isotopes C has decayed that what remains can no longer be measured. In 5,730 years half of the C in the atmosphere, and therefore in plants and animals, has not always been constant.
The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.
The discovery gave scientists a tool for dating rocks that contain radioactive elements.
Many elements have naturally occurring isotopes, varieties of the element that have different numbers of neutrons in the nucleus.
Some isotopes are stable, but some are unstable or radioactive.
Radiocarbon dating is one such type of radiometric dating.
Rachel Wood does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
Over time, radioactive isotopes change into stable isotopes by a process known as radioactive decay.
Some radioactive parent isotopes decay almost instantaneously into their stable daughter isotopes; others take billions of years.
Scientists determined the Earth's age using a technique called radiometric dating.