Carbon 14 dating used determine age object
Since atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, the Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained constant.In living organisms, which are always taking in carbon, the levels of carbon 14 likewise stay constant. Carbon-14 dating can be used on objects ranging from a few hundred years old to 50,000 years old. Libby and others (University of Chicago) devised a method of estimating the age of organic material based on the decay rate of carbon-14."This technique stands to revolutionize radiocarbon dating," said Marvin Rowe, Ph. "It expands the possibility for analyzing extensive museum collections that have previously been off limits because of their rarity or intrinsic value and the destructive nature of the current method of radiocarbon dating.In theory, it could even be used to date the Shroud of Turin." Rowe explained that the new method is a form of radiocarbon dating, the archaeologist's standard tool to estimate the age of an object by measuring its content of naturally-occurring radioactive carbon.Radiocarbon dating: radioactive carbon decays to nitrogen with a half-life of 5730 years.In dead material, the decayed 14C is not replaced and its concentration in the object decreases slowly.
Comparing the C-14 levels in the object to levels of C-14 expected in the atmosphere for a particular historic period allows scientists to estimate the age of an artifact.The carbon 14 present in an organism at the time of its death decays at a steady rate, and so the age of the remains can be calculated from the amount of carbon 14 that is left. The cells of all living things contain carbon atoms that they take in from their environment.