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Carbon 14 dating denotes the amount of

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Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon.As you learned in the previous page, carbon dating uses the half-life of Carbon-14 to find the approximate age of certain objects that are 40,000 years old or younger.Carbon-14 is used to date dead plants and animals, because plants and animals incorporate C-14 into their bodies by eating, drinking, and breathing in an environment containing C-14.Through the life of the organism, the proportion of C-14 to C-12 reaches the same proportion as in the rest of the environment.Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases.Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years— during the succeeding 5,730 years.Recall that atoms are the basic building blocks of matter.

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Radiocarbon dating is a method of estimating the age of organic material.

Some examples of the types of material that radiocarbon can determine the ages of are wood, charcoal, marine and freshwater shell, bone and antler, and peat and organic-bearing sediments.

Age determinations can also be obtained from carbonate deposits such as calcite, dissolved carbon dioxide, and carbonates in ocean, lake, and groundwater sources.

Cosmic rays enter the earth's atmosphere in large numbers every day and when one collides with an atom in the atmosphere, it can create a secondary cosmic ray in the form of an energetic neutron.

When these energetic neutrons collide with a nitrogen-14 (seven protons, seven neutrons) atom it turns into a carbon-14 atom (six protons, eight neutrons) and a hydrogen atom (one proton, zero neutrons).