Carbon dating calculation
is the quantity of radioactive material at time zero, X is the amount remaining after time t, and k is the first order rate constant, which is a characteristic of the isotope undergoing decay. As soon as a living organism dies, it stops taking in new carbon.
After 5,730 years, the amount of carbon 14 left in the body is half of the original amount.For example, say a fossil is found that has 35% carbon 14 compared to the living sample. We can use a formula for carbon 14 dating to find the answer.Where t is the age of the fossil (or the date of death) and ln() is the natural logarithm function.The half-life of a radioactive isotope describes the amount of time that it takes half of the isotope in a sample to decay.In the case of radiocarbon dating, the half-life of carbon 14 is 5,730 years.
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Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.