There are three carbon isotopes that occur as part of the Earth's natural processes; these are carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.
You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.At an archaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.Archaeologists had used Relative Dating methods to calculate their reigns.Though their initial calculations were slightly incorrect thanks to the contaminants of extensive nuclear testing of the age, scientists soon discovered the error and developed methods that were more accurate, including a date of calibration to 1950.What methods do they use and how do these methods work?
In this article, we will examine the methods by which scientists use radioactivity to determine the age of objects, most notably carbon-14 dating.
Typically, a Master's Degree in chemistry is required because of the extensive lab work.
Increasingly though, students are learning about the principles of radiocarbon dates in archaeology, palaeontology and climate science degrees and can combine cross-disciplinary studies.
Carbon-based rocks, such as bitumen and tephra, can also be dated in this manner.
Carbon dating is most effective on material that predates the 1940s; this is due to above-ground nuclear tests increasing the amount of carbon-14 in the environment.
A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2,000 years ago.