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This discussion is a simplified introduction to radiocarbon dating.There are exceptions to the theories and relationships introduced below that are beyond the scope of this discussion.Living plants are active components of the overall food chain.Animals eat plants and/or other animals; humans eat plants and animals.A reaction occurs and a tiny number of these collisions convert nitrogen to carbon-14.This carbon-14 immediately starts to radioactively decay but is constantly being recreated.Fossils are generally found in sedimentary rock — not igneous rock.Sedimentary rocks can be dated using radioactive carbon, but because carbon decays relatively quickly, this only works for rocks younger than about 50 thousand years.

Scientists date igneous rock using elements that are slow to decay, such as uranium and potassium.BETA has been the world leader in Carbon-14 analyses since 1979 and has unmatched expertise analyzing complex samples.Call (305) 662-7760 or fill out our sample form today if you’re ready to send samples for testing.This carbon dioxide rapidly mixes throughout the atmosphere, where at ground level it is taken in by plants during photosynthesis.This process is constantly ongoing, so that at any point in time the amount of carbon-14 in living plants is the same as the amount of carbon-14 in the air around them.

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