Simple explanation of carbon 14 dating

And this would also include things like trees and plants, which give us paper and cloth.So, radiocarbon dating is also useful for determining the age of relics, such the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.For example, uranium-lead dating can be used to find the age of a uranium-containing mineral.

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With radiocarbon dating, the amount of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 is measured.Compared to some of the other radioactive isotopes we have discussed, carbon-14's half-life of 5,730 years is considerably shorter, as it decays into nitrogen-14.For example, how do we know that the Iceman, whose frozen body was chipped out of glacial ice in 1991, is 5,300 years old?Well, we know this because samples of his bones and hair and even his grass boots and leather belongings were subjected to radiocarbon dating.Carbon-14 is continually being created in the atmosphere due to the action of cosmic rays on nitrogen in the air.

Carbon-14 combines with oxygen to create carbon dioxide.

With rubidium-strontium dating, we see that rubidium-87 decays into strontium-87 with a half-life of 50 billion years.

By anyone's standards, 50 billion years is a long time.

So, we start out with two isotopes of uranium that are unstable and radioactive.

They release radiation until they eventually become stable isotopes of lead.

These differing rates of decay help make uranium-lead dating one of the most reliable methods of radiometric dating because they provide two different decay clocks.