Describe one application of radiocarbon dating
So every living thing has a certain amount of radiocarbon within them.
After an organism dies, the radiocarbon decreases through a regular pattern of decay. The time taken for half of the atoms of a radioactive isotope to decay in Carbon-14’s case is about 5730 years.
Half-lives vary according to the isotope, for example, Uranium-238 has a half-life of 4500 million years where as Nitrogen-17 has a half-life of 4.173 seconds!
Looking at the graph, 100% of radiocarbon in a sample will be reduced to 50% after 5730 years.
Materials that originally came from living things, such as wood and natural fibres, can be dated by measuring the amount of carbon-14 they contain.
For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.
For example, Christian time counts the birth of Christ as the beginning, AD 1 (Anno Domini); everything that occurred before Christ is counted backwards from AD as BC (Before Christ).
When it comes to dating archaeological samples, several timescale problems arise.It is good for dating for the last 50,000 years to about 400 years ago and can create chronologies for areas that previously lacked calendars.In 1949, American chemist Willard Libby, who worked on the development of the atomic bomb, published the first set of radiocarbon dates.Later called Ötzi the Iceman, small samples from his body were carbon dated by scientists.The results showed that Ötzi died over 5000 years ago, sometime between 33 BC. It is found in the air in carbon dioxide molecules.