Posted on 2012-03-24
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
How does knowing the half-life of Carbon 14 can tell scientists the absolute age of a rock sample? Can you please explain that to me? Thank you.
Question by:naseeam
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by:Dave Baldwin
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Carbon-14 dating is not used for rocks, it is used for dating biological samples.  The ratio of Carbon-14 to the other forms of carbon is essentially constant while a plant or animal is alive because the carbon-14 is replenished from the atmosphere.  That stops when the plant or animal dies and the carbon-14 starts to decaying at a fixed rate while the other forms do not.

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I've noticed you have been posting a lot of questions like this. Let's keep in mind the EE "Homework Policy," people...

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I think that half-life of Carbon 14 CAN tell scientists the absolute age of a rock sample. I just don't know how. I need an explanation, so i can understand.
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IMIronMan earned 500 total points
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"I think that half-life of Carbon 14 CAN tell scientists the absolute age of a rock sample."
nevertheless it cannot.
(but there are other radioactive decays which can)
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Maybe young rocks containing biological material?
Is amber considered rock?

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Thank you very much!

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