Carbon dating method

We will deal with carbon dating first and then with the other dating methods.

Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on Earth.

(This, in turn, is caused by variations in the magnetic fields of the earth and sun, for example.) Although the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in the atmosphere has varied over time, it is quite uniform around the globe at any given time because the atmosphere mixes very quickly and constantly.

Plants obtain all their carbon atoms from the atmosphere.

A 1929 edition of National Geographic boasts, "The Secret Of The Southwest Solved By Talkative Tree Rings." The 35-page article, penned in whimsical prose, was written by Andrew Douglass, the UA scientist who invented tree ring science. In addition to his work as an astronomer at the UA's Steward Observatory, Douglass was the first to discover that tree rings record time.

Part of the result of these collisions is the production of radiocarbon (C, pronounced "c fourteen"), carbon atoms which are chemically the same as stable carbon, but have two extra neutrons.

Radiocarbon is not stable; over time radiocarbon atoms decay into nitrogen atoms.

Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in “lead” pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes.

One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms: carbon-14, or C ratio gets smaller.

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