# C 14 age dating

Where t is the age of the fossil (or the date of death) and ln() is the natural logarithm function.If the fossil has 35% of its carbon 14 still, then we can substitute values into our equation.Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.The half-life of a radioactive isotope describes the amount of time that it takes half of the isotope in a sample to decay.Thus, one carbon 14 atom exists in nature for every 1,000,000,000,000 C12 atoms in living material.The radiocarbon method is based on the rate of decay of the radioactive or unstable carbon isotope 14 (14C), which is formed in the upper atmosphere through the effect of cosmic ray neutrons upon nitrogen 14.

For example, say a fossil is found that has 35% carbon 14 compared to the living sample. We can use a formula for carbon 14 dating to find the answer.When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.Libby of the University of Chicago in immediate post-WW2 years.Libby later received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960: (From Taylor, 1987).

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