Radioactive dating after 2 half lives

The carbon-14 decays with its half-life of 5,700 years, while the amount of carbon-12 remains constant in the sample.By looking at the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the sample and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to determine the age of a formerly living thing fairly precisely. So, if you had a fossil that had 10 percent carbon-14 compared to a living sample, then that fossil would be: t = [ ln (0.10) / (-0.693) ] x 5,700 years t = [ (-2.303) / (-0.693) ] x 5,700 years t = [ 3.323 ] x 5,700 years Because the half-life of carbon-14 is 5,700 years, it is only reliable for dating objects up to about 60,000 years old.

The graph shows the decay curve for a radioactive substance.

Skills: -critical thinking -data analysis -questioning -graphing and data collecting Vocab Words: 1. This activity can be adapted for older students, but is used in an 8th grade earth science classroom.

Class size can vary, but activity should be done in groups of 2-3.

­ ­As soon as a living organism dies, it stops taking in new carbon.

The ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 at the moment of death is the same as every other living thing, but the carbon-14 decays and is not replaced.

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  1. more Senior Julia Mahony, 22, of Westchester puts a sticky note with a message on a wall during a silent rally to protest a college readmission hearing for a male student who received a one-year suspension for sexually assaulting a female student at Skidmore College on Friday, March 13, 2015, in Saratoga Springs, N. (Lori Van Buren / Times Union) less Senior Julia Mahony, 22, of Westchester puts a sticky note with a message on a wall during a silent rally to protest a college readmission hearing for a male student who received a one-year suspension for ...