C 14 dating 100 current dating
There is a quantitative relationship between the decay of 14C and the production of a beta particle. That is, the probability of decay for an atom of 14C in a discrete sample is constant, thereby requiring the application of statistical methods for the analysis of counting data.It follows from this that any material which is composed of carbon may be dated.The C14 technique has been and continues to be applied and used in many, many different fields including hydrology, atmospheric science, oceanography, geology, palaeoclimatology, archaeology and biomedicine.There are three principal isotopes of carbon which occur naturally - C12, C13 (both stable) and C14 (unstable or radioactive).As 14C decays it emits a weak beta particle (b ), or electron, which possesses an average energy of 160ke V.
The rapidity of the dispersal of C14 into the atmosphere has been demonstrated by measurements of radioactive carbon produced from thermonuclear bomb testing.
Nyerup's words illustrate poignantly the critical power and importance of dating; to order time.
Radiocarbon dating has been one of the most significant discoveries in 20th century science.
14C also enters the Earth's oceans in an atmospheric exchange and as dissolved carbonate (the entire 14C inventory is termed the carbon exchange reservoir (Aitken, 1990)).
Plants and animals which utilise carbon in biological foodchains take up 14C during their lifetimes.
They exist in equilibrium with the C14 concentration of the atmosphere, that is, the numbers of C14 atoms and non-radioactive carbon atoms stays approximately the same over time.