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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.

how do scientists use carbon 14 for radioactive dating-71how do scientists use carbon 14 for radioactive dating-67

By measuring the C14 concentration or residual radioactivity of a sample whose age is not known, it is possible to obtain the countrate or number of decay events per gram of Carbon.

By comparing this with modern levels of activity (1890 wood corrected for decay to 1950 AD) and using the measured half-life it becomes possible to calculate a date for the death of the sample.

A sample of acacia wood from the tomb of the pharoah Zoser (or Djoser; 3rd Dynasty, ca. Libby reasoned that since the half-life of C years, they should obtain a C14 concentration of about 50% that which was found in living wood (see Libby, 1949 for further details).

The results they obtained indicated this was the case.

Nyerup's words illustrate poignantly the critical power and importance of dating; to order time.

How do scientists use carbon 14 for radioactive dating

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