The tiny initial amount of C14, the relatively rapid rate of decay (the half-life of C14 is currently about 5700 years) and the ease with which samples can become contaminated make radiocarbon dating results for samples "older" than about 50,000 years effectively meaningless.This limit is currently accepted by nearly all radiocarbon dating practitioners.Thus we sometimes find a difference between math texts and science texts in the formula for decay. Basis of Radiocarbon Dating Problems with Radiocarbon Dating The Earth's Magnetic Field Table 1 Effect of Increasing Earth's Magnetic Field Removal of Carbon From the Biosphere Water Vapour Canopy Effect on Radiocarbon Dating Figure 1 Apparent Radiocarbon Dates Heartwood and Frozen Time Early Post-Flood Trees Appendix Radiocarbon Date Table HOW ACCURATE IS RADIOCARBON DATING? The normal carbon atom has six protons and six neutrons in its nucleus, giving a total atomic mass of 12.
Physicists have studied tritium decay seeking to understand fusion on the Sun.
Every 5,730 years, approximately half of this radioactive carbon spontaneously converts itself back into nitrogen by emitting an electron from a neutron.
As you might guess, radioactive carbon (C) is quite rare.
Cosmic rays are positively charged atoms moving at enormous speeds.
When they strike ordinary atoms in the upper atmosphere, the cosmic rays smash them apart. Some of these neutrons then collide with nitrogen atoms.