Asked Jan 6, 2020

 Explain the main concepts behind the technique of radiocarbon dating. How can radiocarbon dating be corrected for changes in atmospheric concentrations of C-14? What range of ages can be reliably determined by C-14 dating?< 


Expert Answer

Step 1

Radiocarbon dating technique:

  • When nitrogen atoms bombard by cosmic rays, C-14 isotope of carbon is produced. The interactions produce a continuous supply of C-14 atoms that diffuse through the atmosphere. C-14 along with the other isotopes of carbon are taken by plants during photosynthesis where animals get C-14 by eating the plants or other animals.
  • In every part of the lifetime organism, the quantity of C-14 in the tissues stays at an equilibrium.
  • Though once the organism dies, the amount of C-14 keeps on decreasing as the C-14 cannot be replenished anymore. This helps us in tracking the age of the organism.
Step 2

Changes in atmospheric concentrations of C-14:

The C-14 content in the atmosphere keeps on changing and has not b...

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