Chemistry radiocarbon dating

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But that assumes that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock. The use of various radioisotopes along with carbon allows the dating of biological and geological samples with a high degree of accuracy. After it dies, the stable carbon remains, while the radioactive carbon undergoes beta decay to turn into nitrogen. Learning Outcome At the conclusion of this video, you should be able to explain several examples of nuclear chemistry and their importance: nuclear fusion on the sun, nuclear fission reactions, carbon dating and nuclear uses in medicine.

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Rachel Wood does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Radiometric dating, often called radioactive dating, is a technique used to determine the age of materials such as rocks. It is based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates. It is the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself, and it can be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials. The best-known radiometric dating techniques include radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating, and uranium-lead dating.

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