Carbon dating only
(The nucleus of an atom is made up of protons and neutrons.) For example, the element carbon, which always has six protons in its nucleus, has three isotopes: one with six neutrons in the nucleus, one with seven, and one with eight.Some isotopes are stable, but some are unstable or radioactive.They used pottery and other materials in sites to date 'relatively'.They thought that sites which had the same kinds of pots and tools would be the same age.I have tried here to answer some of the frequently asked questions that I receive from students via email, as well as providing some basic information about scientific dating methods."Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure.Other radiometric dating methods such as potassium-argon or rubidium-strontium are used for such purposes by those who believe that the earth is billions of years old.
Radiocarbon is not used to date the age of rocks or to determine the age of the earth.Over time, carbon-14 decays radioactively and turns into nitrogen.A living organism takes in both carbon-12 and carbon-14 from the environment in the same relative proportion that they existed naturally.Once the organism dies, it stops replenishing its carbon supply, and the total carbon-14 content in the organism slowly disappears.Scientists can determine how long ago an organism died by measuring how much carbon-14 is left relative to the carbon-12.
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Welcome to the K12 section of the Radiocarbon WEBinfo site.