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The carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants, and the plants are eaten by animals, thus contaminating every living thing on earth with radioactive carbon. As time passes, the C14 in its tissues is converted back into nitrogen.

If we know what the original ratios of C14 to C12 were in the organism when it died, and if we know that the sample has not been contaminated by contact with other carbon since its death, we should be able to calculate when it died by its C14 to C12 ratio.

The radioactive carbon has six protons and eight neutrons in its nucleus, giving it a total atomic mass of 14.

This atom is not stable, and will break down, releasing nuclear energy in the process.

Basis of Radiocarbon Dating Problems with Radiocarbon Dating The Earth's Magnetic Field Table 1 Effect of Increasing Earth's Magnetic Field Removal of Carbon From the Biosphere Water Vapour Canopy Effect on Radiocarbon Dating Figure 1 Apparent Radiocarbon Dates Heartwood and Frozen Time Early Post-Flood Trees Appendix Radiocarbon Date Table HOW ACCURATE IS RADIOCARBON DATING? The normal carbon atom has six protons and six neutrons in its nucleus, giving a total atomic mass of 12.

It uses accelerator mass spectrometry to determine the amounts of C14 and C12 in a small sample which is vaporised in the test.Radioactive carbon (Carbon 14) is formed in the upper atmosphere as a byproduct of cosmic radiation.Cosmic rays are positively charged atoms moving at enormous speeds.When they strike ordinary atoms in the upper atmosphere, the cosmic rays smash them apart. Some of these neutrons then collide with nitrogen atoms.This collision is less destructive than the initial collision that produced them.

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