The time it takes for 14C to radioactively decay is described by its half-life. C has a half-life of 5,730 years. In other words, after 5,730 years, only half of the original amount of 14C remains in a sample of organic material. After an additional 5,730 years–or 11,460 years total–only a quarter of the 14C remains.
How long does it take carbon-14 to go through one half-life?
The halflife of carbon 14 is 5730 ± 30 years, and the method of dating lies in trying to determine how much carbon 14 (the radioactive isotope of carbon) is present in the artifact and comparing it to levels currently present in the atmosphere.
What happens to carbon 14 but not carbon 12 in a living organism after it has died?
When an organism dies, it ceases to absorb Carbon 14 from the atmosphere and the Carbon 14 within the organism decays exponentially, becoming Nitrogen 14, with a half-life of approximately 5730 years. Carbon 12, however, is stable and so does not decay over time.
How much carbon 14 is in your body when you are alive?
Carbon-14 content of the body is based on the fact that one 14C atom exists in nature for every 1,000,000,000,000 12C atoms in living material.
What happens to carbon-14 when an organism dies?
Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food. Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases.