1 Answer | Add Yours
Radiocarbon dating is a method of determining the age of any organic object, or fossilized object that contained organic materials. Usually called simply "carbon dating," the method uses carbon-14, which has a fixed half-life. By determining the rate of decay in the carbon-14, the approximate age of the object can be determined. For example, a fossilized plant will have stopped accumulating carbon-14 when it died; this fixed amount corresponds to the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere at that time in history. During the fossilization process, the carbon-14 decays at a known rate, about 5,730 years -- this means that every 5,730 years, the amount of carbon-14 in a given sample will reduce by half. Using this information, the age of an organic fossil object can be determined. Carbon dating was first theorized by scientist Willard Libby in 1949.
We’ve answered 317,696 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question