Defense carbon dating
However, once the organism dies, the amount of carbon-14 steadily decreases.By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in the organism, it's possible to work out how old it is.Atmospheric carbon-14 rapidly reacts with oxygen in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the carbon cycle.Plants take in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and the carbon-14 makes its way up the food chain and into all living organisms.
Examples of use include analyzing charcoal from prehistoric caves, ancient linen and wood, and mummified remains.
Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in 1960.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contains a constant amount of carbon-14, and as long as an organism is living, the amount of carbon-14 inside it is the same as the atmosphere.
You might remember that it was mentioned earlier that the amount of carbon-14 in living things is the same as the atmosphere.
Once they die, they stop taking in carbon-14, and the amount present starts to decrease at a constant half-life rate.Then the radiocarbon dating measures remaining radioactivity.