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Radiocarbon dating uses isotopes of the element carbon. Cosmic rays – high energy particles from beyond the solar system – bombard Earth’s upper atmosphere continually, in the process creating the unstable carbon-14. Because it’s unstable, carbon-14 will eventually decay back to carbon-12 isotopes.Because the cosmic ray bombardment is fairly constant, there’s a near-constant level of carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio in Earth’s atmosphere.Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. Most carbon on Earth exists as the very stable isotope carbon-12, with a very small amount as carbon-13.Here’s an example using the simplest atom, hydrogen. Carbon-14 is an unstable isotope of carbon that will eventually decay at a known rate to become carbon-12.Click here for some practice problems on u-substitution (for more examples, look at your lecture notes). Office: PO103, Room 118 (PO103 is one of the portables just outside the Science Wing) Telephone: 416-208-2784 Email: leo.goldmakher at utoronto dot ca Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday -- pm, Tuesday --, and by appointment.Set the midterm date for March 4th (in class); Practiced manipulating exponentials and logs; Discussed APR, nominal rates, effective rates, future value, and present value; Started a problem on carbon dating and half-life.The last figure I heard was that there are currently eight nuclear subs on our ocean floors. It doesn't work for sea creatures and other things that are under water. Then they measure how much is left in the specimen when they find it. It comes from cosmic rays that rain down on the earth (and us) from outer space.
So this is just an ordinary beta decay process and this carbon fourteen's half life is way way way too short for any carbon to just kind of exist naturally in the atmosphere, you'd think, not quite right. So that mean that 1.3 times 10 to the -12 carbon 14 atoms, exist for each and every carbon 12 atom in nature. So you'd think that if you got this 1.3 times 10 to the -12 carbon 14 atoms for each carbon 12 atom at some time, well then 5700 years later, half of the carbon 14 will have decayed. But in fact what happens is, cosmic rays from the sun interact with the upper atmosphere and they actually create carbon 14, at this rate so that in equilibrium, 1.3 times 10 to the -12 carbon 14 atoms will exist for every carbon 12 atom. It's no longer replenishing its carbon 14 supply. This is our standard radioactive decay formula, always works.Follow the links below to learn more about radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon dating uses carbon isotopes A special kind of radiocarbon dating: Bomb radiocarbon dating What is an isotope?