What machine is used to do carbon dating

If the level is constant, living plants and animals should also maintain a constant carbon-14 level in them.

The reason is that, as long as the organism is alive, it replaces any carbon molecules that have decayed into nitrogen.

Through photosynthesis carbon dioxide enters plants and algae, bringing radiocarbon into the food chain.

Radiocarbon then enters animals as they consume the plants (figure 2).

So even we humans are radioactive because of trace amounts of radiocarbon in our bodies.

After radiocarbon forms, the nuclei of the carbon-14 atoms are unstable, so over time they progressively decay back to nuclei of stable nitrogen-14.3 A neutron breaks down to a proton and an electron, and the electron is ejected. The ejected electrons are called beta particles and make up what is called beta radiation. Different carbon-14 atoms revert to nitrogen-14 at different times, which explains why radioactive decay is considered a random process.

After all, we should be able to estimate how long ago a creature lived based on how much radiocarbon is left in its body. Radiocarbon (carbon-14) is a very unstable element that quickly changes into nitrogen.

Half the original quantity of carbon-14 will decay back to the stable element nitrogen-14 after only 5,730 years.

Because we have measured the rate at which the sand grains fall (the radiocarbon decay rate), we can then calculate how long it took those carbon-14 atoms to decay, which is how long ago the mammoth died. If all the sand grains are in the top bowl, then it takes exactly an hour for them all to fall.

But there is no way of independently calibrating the radioactive clocks in rocks because no observers were present when the rocks formed and the clocks started. And because the half-life of carbon-14 is just 5,730 years, radiocarbon dating of materials containing carbon yields dates of only thousands of years, not the dates over millions of years that conflict with the framework of earth history provided by the Bible, God’s eyewitness account of history.

So one would think that since the radiocarbon dating method works on organic (once-living) materials, then radiocarbon could be used to date fossils.

Since the atmosphere is composed of about 78 percent nitrogen,2 a lot of radiocarbon atoms are produced—in total about 16.5 lbs. These rapidly combine with oxygen atoms (the second most abundant element in the atmosphere, at 21 percent) to form carbon dioxide (CO This carbon dioxide, now radioactive with carbon-14, is otherwise chemically indistinguishable from the normal carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is slightly lighter because it contains normal carbon-12.

Radioactive and non-radioactive carbon dioxide mix throughout the atmosphere, and dissolve in the oceans.

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