Real life dating basics
Radiocarbon then enters animals as they consume the plants (Figure 1b).
So even we humans are radioactive because of trace amounts of radiocarbon in our bodies.
Although many people think radiocarbon dating is used to date rocks, it is limited to dating things that contain the element carbon and were once alive (like fossils).
Rb)—are not being formed on earth, as far as we know.
The reason is that, as long as the organism is alive, it replaces any carbon molecule that has decayed into nitrogen.
After plants and animals perish, however, they no longer replace molecules damaged by radiocarbon decay.
Thus it appears that God probably created those elements when He made the original earth.
So if we started with 2 million atoms of carbon-14 in our measured quantity of carbon, then the half-life of radiocarbon would be the time it takes for half, or 1 million, of those atoms to decay.The radiocarbon half-life or decay rate has been determined at 5,730 years.Next comes the question of how scientists use this knowledge to date things.Many people assume that rocks are dated at “millions of years” based on radiocarbon (carbon-14) dating. The most well-known of all the radiometric dating methods is radiocarbon dating. Carbon-14 can yield dates of only “thousands of years” before it all breaks down.These excited neutrons then collide with nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere, changing them into radioactive carbon-14 atoms.CARBON-14 IS ABSORBED (Figure 1b): Plants absorb this carbon-14 during photosynthesis.These rapidly combine with oxygen atoms (the second most abundant element in the atmosphere, at 21%) to form carbon dioxide (CO).This carbon dioxide, now radioactive with carbon-14, is otherwise chemically indistinguishable from the normal carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is slightly lighter because it contains normal carbon-12.Since each beta particle represents one decayed carbon-14 atom, we know how many carbon-14 atoms decay during a month.Chemists have already determined how many atoms are in a given mass of each element, such as carbon.4 So if we weigh a lump of carbon, we can calculate how many carbon atoms are in it.