Radiometric dating resources
As you learned in the previous page, carbon dating uses the half-life of Carbon-14 to find the approximate age of certain objects that are 40,000 years old or younger.
After the organism dies it stops taking in new carbon.We call the unstable nuclide that undergoes radioactive decay the parent nuclide and the nuclide that results from the radioactive decay the daughter nuclide.This is a fairly easy concept to remember because it is as if the original nuclide is giving birth to the new nuclide, much like a human parent and daughter relationship.We know that elements can exist as isotopes, which means that their atomic nuclei contain the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons.Specially defined isotopes, called nuclides, can be unstable and therefore undergo radioactive decay.To measure the amount of radiocarbon left in a artifact, scientists burn a small piece to convert it into carbon dioxide gas.
Radiation counters are used to detect the electrons given off by decaying Carbon-14 as it turns into nitrogen.
Age determinations can also be obtained from carbonate deposits such as calcite, dissolved carbon dioxide, and carbonates in ocean, lake, and groundwater sources.
Cosmic rays enter the earth's atmosphere in large numbers every day and when one collides with an atom in the atmosphere, it can create a secondary cosmic ray in the form of an energetic neutron.
Libby and coworkers, and it has provided a way to determine the ages of different materials in archeology, geology, geophysics, and other branches of science.
Some examples of the types of material that radiocarbon can determine the ages of are wood, charcoal, marine and freshwater shell, bone and antler, and peat and organic-bearing sediments.
The carbon-14 atoms combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which plants absorb naturally and incorporate into plant fibers by photosynthesis.