Radioactive isotopes in carbon dating

by  |  03-Oct-2019 10:06

Isotopes of a particular element have the same number of protons in their nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons.

Radiocarbon dating (usually referred to simply as carbon-14 dating) is a radiometric dating method.

It uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 (14C) to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years old. Carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life of 5,730 years, meaning that the fraction of carbon-14 in a sample is halved over the course of 5,730 years due to radioactive decay to nitrogen-14.

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View the full list Radiocarbon dating has transformed our understanding of the past 50,000 years.

The total mass of the isotope is indicated by the numerical superscript.

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