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C-14 is formed in the earth’s upper atmosphere as a consequence of cosmic radiation bombardment.
These cosmic rays shatter the nuclei in gas atoms in the upper atmosphere releasing neutrons.
Even humans contain C-14 because, of course, we also eat either animals or plants (I don’t know what else there is to eat).
Throughout an organism’s life, it is constantly balancing its C-14 decay with intake so that it will always contain C-14.
Ironically, despite its popularity, it is also one of the most misunderstood methods of dating.
Many people mistakenly believe carbon dating can be used to date objects that are millions or even billions of years old.
After about 8 half-lives, the remaining amount of C-14 (if there is any remaining) is too small to be measured.
In order for carbon dating to work (and this applies to other dating methods as well), the parent and daughter concentrations must have not been altered throughout the specimen’s history.Therefore, all the C-14 remaining in the organism will eventually decay and disappear.If one can measure the rate in which it decays, and the amount the organism started off with, then one might be able to figure out when the organism, such as a frog, croaked.But, as C-14 continuously decays, it is also continuously being replaced by new C-14 being formed.How carbon-14 enters an organism Most C-14 will combine with oxygen to produce radioactive carbon dioxide (C-14 O-2).
Instead, it can only give up to approximately 50,000 years. Unfortunately, dating methods such as the carbon dating method have only been around for a short period of time.