Radiocarbon dating wikipedia bbc dating world of warcraft
But carbon-14 is slightly radioactive: it will spontaneously decay into nitrogen-14 by emitting an anti-neutrino and an electron, with a half-life of 5730 years.
The theory behind radiocarbon dating is as follows: Why doesn't the carbon-14 in the air decay along with terrestrial carbon? The trick is that radioactive carbon-14 is continually replenished in a complex reaction that involves high-energy cosmic rays striking the upper atmosphere.
(The numbers 12, 13 and 14 refer to the total number of protons plus neutrons in the atom's nucleus.
Thus carbon-14 has six protons and eight neutrons.) Carbon-12 is by far the most abundant carbon isotope, and carbon-12 and -13 are both stable.
If it had 1/4 the current concentration of C-14 it would be dated as 11460 years old, etc.
The emission of the beta particle is no longer used in Carbon dating methodology as indicated in other answers, however C-14 does emit this beta radiation during decay.
And no C-14, it is not, in itself, harmful to us as the concentration is very low.In this article, we will examine the methods by which scientists use radioactivity to determine the age of objects, most notably carbon-14 dating.Carbon-14 dating is a way of determining the age of certain archeological artifacts of a biological origin up to about 50,000 years old.In this process, nitrogen-14 (7 protons and 7 neutrons) gains a neutron and loses a proton, producing carbon-14 (6 protons and 8 neutrons).The proportion of carbon-14 to carbon-12 in the atmosphere therefore remains relatively stable at about 1.5 parts per billion.
To correct for this, scientists have compared radiocarbon dates from objects who's age is known by other means, such as artifacts from Egyptian tombs, and growth rings from ancient trees.