Simple definition radiocarbon dating
The sample passes through several accelerators in order to remove as many atoms as possible until the C pass into the detector.These latter atoms are used as part of the calibration process to measure the relative number of isotopes (9).When the half-life was corrected in 1950, the year was taken as a base date from which to calculate all resulting dates.Therefore, any expression of “before present” will mean “before 1950”.The method developed in the 1940's and was a ground-breaking piece of research that would change dating methods forever. Libby calculated the rate of radioactive decay of the C isotope (4) in carbon black powder.As a test, the team took samples of acacia wood from two Egyptian Pharaohs and dated them; the results came back to within what was then a reasonable range: 2800BC /- 250 years whereas the earlier independent dates (largely the dendrochronology records) were 2625 /- 75 years (3), (5).
It is oxidised quickly and absorbed in great quantities by all living organisms - animal and plant, land and ocean dwelling alike.
There are three carbon isotopes that occur as part of the Earth's natural processes; these are carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.