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Half-Life

Posted on 2012-03-24
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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.
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Question by:naseeam
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 37762042
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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocarbon_dating
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Expert Comment

by:Tymetwister
ID: 37762045
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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by:naseeam
ID: 37762110
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
ID: 37762117
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Expert Comment

by:aburr
ID: 37762119
"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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Expert Comment

by:ozo
ID: 37762142
Maybe young rocks containing biological material?
Is amber considered rock?
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Author Closing Comment

by:naseeam
ID: 37762168
Thank you very much!
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