Start Ratio used in carbon 14 dating

Ratio used in carbon 14 dating

Carbon-14 in the bodies of animals and plants is constantly decaying.

This technique is not restricted to bones; it can also be used on cloth, wood and plant fibers. The short half-life of carbon-14 means its cannot be used to date extremely old fossils.

Carbon-14 dating has been used successfully on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Minoan ruins and tombs of the pharohs among other things. Levels of carbon-14 become difficult to measure and compare after about 50,000 years (between 8 and 9 half lives; where 1% of the original carbon-14 remains undecayed).

At any given moment all living plants and animals have approximately the same percentage of carbon-14 in their bodies.

When a plant or animal dies it stops bringing in new carbon-14.

Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50,000 years old.

This technique is widely used on recent artifacts, but teachers should note that this technique will not work on older fossils (like those of the dinosaurs which are over 65 million years old).

However, the carbon-14 already in the organism's body continues to decay at a constant rate.