Unlike humans, when aging has a specific features likened to them such as, glait slow and skin wrinkles etc. but other organic matter does not exhibit these features. This actually results to not knowing the exact age of some organic materials.
Owing to this fact the archaeologist that studies pre-historic peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments and other such remains especially those that have been excavated.
Even the paleontologist who studies the forms of life existing in former geologic period as represented by their petrifaction in the quest of their study to know the actual ages of these organic materials both while living or dead, these scientists employed a method known as radiocarbon dating to date the organic materials.
Why Radio – Carbon Dating?
Why carbon-dating is used because carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the earth crust. Its abundance is characterized by it capability to form organic compounds characterized by it capability to form organic compounds, polymers at a very common temperatures when it is been encountered with the earth.
This unique ability makes carbon to serves as a common element of all known life. Organic carbon is the major components of all organic matter both while living or dead and also stored in the soils.
Radio carbon dating is a method of dating an organic matter based on the decay rate of isotopes that are radioactive. It can be used to date a wide range of natural and artificial / man made materials.
Radioactive isotopes are isotopes that contains unstable atomic nuclei carbon has three different isotopes that occurs naturally, R C and BC being stable while 14C is a radionuclide (radioactive) decaying with half-life of about 5,730 years. His method of dating functions by comparing the three different isotopes of carbon. Isotopes of a particular element have different numbers of neutrons but the same number of protons.
They exhibit a very similar chemical properties carbon -14 is produced by thermal neutrons from cosmic radiation in the upper atmosphere and is transported down to the earth to be absorbed by living biological material isotopically carbon -14 is one of the method used by the archeologist for dating of biological material radioactive isotopes like carbon -14 end it full life when it emit all its radiation and get to a point it becomes more stable.
This process is called radiocarbon decay. This process of disintegration is valuable for determining the age of an object or 0rganic materials because each radioactive isotopes disintegrate at its own constant/fixed rate which is define in term of half – life if the radioactive isotope is found in the substance and isotopes half-life are known, the age of that substance can be determined and calculated.
Before getting to the point of stability of a radioactive isotopes half way to this point, such isotope has gotten to its half-life and its dependent on nuclear properties and essentially constant. Half-life can be said to be the time required for a radioactive isotopes to fall to half of its starting value.
Essence of radio carbon dating
The essence of radiocarbon dating is that plant and animals consumes a radioactive kind of carbon throughout their life term. This stop when they die they do not consume or inhale this form of radiocarbon isotope there buy learning bodies with a nuclear clock.
Processes of radio carbon dating
- Creation of natural radiocarbon: This is refer to the process by which neatrons in the form of cosmic rays from the sun emit radiation in the upper atmosphere were the react with nitrogen molecules and its end product is carbon-14 (radiocarbon) and protons. This radiocarbon is been oxidized rapidly and becomes Co2.
- Consumption of natural radiocarbon: During photosynthesis in plants, radiocarbon Co2 is been ingested by the plants, an d animals feeds on this plant and take up some of this radiocarbon.
- Death: When this organic matter dies that is no further inhalation of Co2.
- Radiocarbon decay: Due to weak nuclear force that radiocarbon (carbon-14) exhibit, it tends to be more stable. So it has a half-life of 5,730 +– 40 years.
- Present radiocarbon measurement:
- Accelerator mass spectrometry
Causes of error in measurement
- Atmospheric variation
- Isotopic fractionation
- Reservoir effects