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Posted by / 01-Aug-2017 17:12

Which carbon isotope is used for radiocarbon dating

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There's a small amount of radioactive carbon-14 in all living organisms.

Carbon-14 is also passed onto the animals that eat those plants.

Its consistent rate of decay allows the age of an object to be determined by the proportion of carbon-14 to other carbon isotopes. Carbon-14 is also used as a radioactive tracer for medical tests.

For example, all hydrogen atoms have one proton, all carbon atoms have 6 protons, and all uranium..Carbon-14 is an isotope of the element carbon. Most carbon atoms also have 6 neutrons, giving them an atomic mass of 12 ( = 6 protons 6 neutrons). About 4/5ths of Earth's atmosphere is nitrogen gas!

A molecule of nitrogen gas is made up of two nitrogen atoms.

By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.

For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.

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Human remains, fossils and organic materials from archaeological sites are all dated using carbon-14.

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