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Radiocarbon dating is a technique that utilizes decay of carbon-14 to estimate the age of organic materials. This method is based on the principle that carbon is found in various forms. Through photosynthesis, plants absorb both forms of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. When an organism dies it contains a ratio of carbon-14 and carbon-12. As the carbon-14 decays it cannot replenish itself and the ratio decreases at a regular rate, its half-life. The measurement of carbon-14 decay provides a measurement of the age of the carbon-based material.

There are fluctuations of carbon-14 and carbon-12 in at atmosphere over periods of time. Scientists use sequencing of tree rings and cave deposits to fine tune and calibrate radiocarbon dating of materials.

The process of radioactive decay gradually decreases the fraction of carbon-14 isotope relative to the other two isotopes of carbon. The half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 ± 40 years. The equation of radioactive decay of carbon-14 is


Radiocarbon dating was developed by Willard Libby at the University of Chicago in 1949. Libby estimated that the steady state radioactivity concentration of exchangeable carbon-14 would be about 14 disintegrations per minute per gram. He won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1960 for his work.

Carbon 14 Dating, Dissolving a Chemical

1. Carbon 14 Dating: A sample from a refuse deposit near the Strait of Magellan had 60% of the carbon 14 of a contemporary living sample. How old was the sample? 2. Dissolving a Chemical: The amount of a chemical that will dissolve in a solution increases exponentially as the (Celsius) temperature t is increased accordin

Characterize the decay of potassium.

It takes 1.31 billion years for radioactive potassium -40 to decrease to half its original size. a) Construct a function to describe the decay of potassium -40 b) Approximately what amount of the original potassium -40 would be left after 4 billion years?

Carbon Dating and Viking Ship Age

Carbon dating is a well-calibrated radiometric dating system used for items generally younger than 50,000 years old (14 C has a half-life of 5730 years). A recently unearthed Viking burial mound contained a ship, a sample of which was found to have a C activity of 14.3 disintegrations per minute per gram of the sample. A nearby

Mean field theory for Ising model and Weiss approximation.

For this exercise we use the Weiss Molecular Field approximation for the Ising model in 3 dimensions. Here the interaction between neighbouring spins is replaced by an interaction of the averaged field over all the spins: the Weiss Molecular Field, which we name m. The Hamiltonian is given by H = −Jzm ∑si - B ∑si,

A Carbon Dating Problem

I don't know how to set up the problem to solve it with the equation to use. C-14 activity of one of the youngest mammoths was measured at 1.5 disintegrations per minute gram of carbon. How many years ago did the Siberian mammoths become extinct?

Carbon Dating and Exponential Decay

The radioactive carbon-14 in an organism at the time of its death decays according to the equation A=A_0*exp(-0.000124t), where t is time in years and A_0 is the amount of carbon-14 present at time t=0. Estimate the age of a skull uncovered in an archaeological site if 10% of the original amount of carbon-14 is still pres

How old is the piece of wood, determined by carbon dating?

The age of a piece of wood from an ancient source is determined by carbon dating. The carbon-14 content of a sample of the wood is found to be one-fourth that of living trees. The half life of carbon-14 is 5730 years. How old is the piece of wood?

Carbon Dating Scientific Principles

What are the scientific principles that allow archaeologists to date charcoal, bone, or other organic materials that they find in archaeological contexts?