Question: How is carbon 14 used as a dating tool?

Over time, carbon-14 decays in predictable ways. And with the help of radiocarbon dating, researchers can use that decay as a kind of clock that allows them to peer into the past and determine absolute dates for everything from wood to food, pollen, poop, and even dead animals and humans.

Why is carbon-14 used in dating techniques?

The basis of radiocarbon dating is simple: all living things absorb carbon from the atmosphere and food sources around them, including a certain amount of natural, radioactive carbon-14. When the plant or animal dies, they stop absorbing, but the radioactive carbon that theyve accumulated continues to decay.

What is the equation for carbon dating?

We can use our our general model for exponential decay to calculate the amount of carbon at any given time using the equation, N (t) = N0e kt .

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