Carbon fourteen dating definition
A form of radiometric dating that relies on the 5730-year half-life of radioactive carbon-14, which decays into nitrogen-14, to determine the age of rocks in which carbon-14 is present.
Carbon-14 dating is used for rocks from 100 to 100,000 years old.
They have masses of 13 and 14 respectively and are referred to as "carbon-13" and "carbon-14." If two atoms have equal numbers of protons but differing numbers of neutrons, one is said to be an "isotope" of the other.
Carbon-13 and carbon-14 are thus isotopes of carbon-12.
Isotopes participate in the same chemical reactions but often at differing rates.
When isotopes are to be designated specifically, the chemical symbol is expanded to identify the mass (for example, C is not stable.
Radiation counters are used to detect the electrons given off by decaying C-14 as it turns into nitrogen.
The amount of C-14 is compared to the amount of C-12, the stable form of carbon, to determine how much radiocarbon has decayed, thereby dating the artifact.
American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Along with hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur, carbon is a building block of biochemical molecules ranging from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to active substances such as hormones.All carbon atoms have a nucleus containing six protons.