Home / dating kp st / The pitfalls of radiocarbon dating

The pitfalls of radiocarbon dating

The radioactive carbon has six protons and eight neutrons in its nucleus, giving it a total atomic mass of 14.

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.

The carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants, and the plants are eaten by animals, thus contaminating every living thing on earth with radioactive carbon. As time passes, the C14 in its tissues is converted back into nitrogen.

If we know what the original ratios of C14 to C12 were in the organism when it died, and if we know that the sample has not been contaminated by contact with other carbon since its death, we should be able to calculate when it died by its C14 to C12 ratio.

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.

If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.

126 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*