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Radiocarbon dating is used to work out the age of things that died up to 50,000 years ago. As far as working out the age of long-dead things goes, carbon has got a few things going for it. The proteins, carbohydrates and fats that make up much of our tissues are all based on carbon.Everything from the fibres in the Shroud of Turin to Otzi the Iceman has had their birthday determined the carbon-14 way. There's plenty of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen in living things too, but carbon's got something none of them do — a radioactive isotope that can take thousands of years to decay.
Chemically, carbon-14 is no different from non-radioactive carbon atoms, so it ends up in all the usual carbon places — one trillionth of the carbon atoms in air, plants, animals and us are radioactive.
All radioactive atoms eventually decay into something more stable, and carbon-14 decays into nitrogen.
And that something else starts where Earth meets space.
Earth's upper atmosphere is constantly being bombarded by cosmic rays (usually protons travelling at nearly the speed of light).
And nuclear reactions have seen a leap in carbon-14 activity since 1945.
Luckily for us we have a record of atmospheric carbon-14 levels for every one of the last 12,000 years.Our findings suggest that a significant fraction of all samples (“unknowns”) would be shifted by 2‰ (16 radiocarbon years) or more due to this effect: for example, for b = 1.882, between 16.8% and 25.9% of almost 60,000 radiocarbon values measured at the Keck Carbon Cycle AMS facility between 20 would be affected.The implications for radiocarbon dating and its accuracy are discussed.(You can read up on radioactivity and isotopes here).Carbon-14, the radioactive version of carbon, is rare — it only makes up one trillionth of all the carbon in the world.So the proportion of carbon-14 inside living things is the same as the proportion of carbon-14 in the atmosphere at that time.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating