Radiocarbon or Carbon-14 dating is a technique used by scientist to date bones, wood, paper and cloth. It is produced in the Earth’s upper atmosphere when Nitrogen-14 is broken down to form the unstable Carbon-14 by the action of cosmic rays.The unstable Carbon-14 is transported down to the lower atmosphere by atmospheric activity such as storms.Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. 1979, 1986 © Harper Collins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source radiocarbon dating A technique for measuring the age of organic remains based on the rate of decay of carbon 14.Because the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 present in all living organisms is the same, and because the decay rate of carbon 14 is constant, the length of time that has passed since an organism has died can be calculated by comparing the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in its remains to the known ratio in living organisms. Our Living Language : In the late 1940s, American chemist Willard Libby developed a method for determining when the death of an organism had occurred.Because atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained fairly constant.
The deeper layers are older than the layers found at the top, which aids in determining the relative age of fossils found within the strata. Such index fossils must be distinctive, globally distributed, and occupy a short time range to be useful.Carbon-14 reacts identically to Carbon-12 and is rapidly oxidised to form (Carbon-14)Dioxide.Since all living organisms on Earth are made up of organic molecules that contain Carbon atoms derived from the atmosphere, they therefore contain Carbon-14 atoms.As soon as it dies, however, the C ration gets smaller.In other words, we have a ‘clock’ which starts ticking at the moment something dies.The article is in straightforward language and the non-technical reader could profitably work through it., we find that this ration is the same if we sample a leaf from a tree, or a part of your body.Half of the remaining Carbon-14 then decays over the next 5730 years leaving one fourth of the original amount.By measuring the ratio of Carbon-14 in a sample and comparing it to the amount in a recently deceased sample its date can be determined.He first noted that the cells of all living things contain atoms taken in from the organism's environment, including carbon; all organic compounds contain carbon.Most carbon consists of the isotopes carbon 12 and carbon 13, which are very stable.