What is the meaning of radioactive carbon dating
For the record, a beta-particle is a specific type of nuclear decay. Image 1 shows carbon-14 production by high energy neutrons hitting nitrogen-14 atoms, while in Image 2, carbon-14 naturally decomposes through beta-particle production.Notice that the nitrogen-14 atom is recreated and goes back into the cycle.How long before a carbon 14 atom reverts to being a nitrogen 14 atom? It could happen in the next second or it could happen 50,000 years from now.There is no way to predict or to even know if it is predictable.Once they die, they stop taking in carbon-14, and the amount present starts to decrease at a constant half-life rate.Then the radiocarbon dating measures remaining radioactivity. They don't seem to want to be carbon atoms at all.
This is why radiocarbon dating is only useful for dating objects up to around 50,000 years old (about 10 half-lives).This technique works well for materials up to around 50,000 years old.Each radioactive isotope decays by a fixed amount, and this amount is called the half-life.Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in 1960.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contains a constant amount of carbon-14, and as long as an organism is living, the amount of carbon-14 inside it is the same as the atmosphere.
Plants take in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and the carbon-14 makes its way up the food chain and into all living organisms.