Carbon 14 decay dating

Isotopes of a particular element have the same number of protons in their nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons.This means that although they are very similar chemically, they have different masses.

Radiocarbon dating works by comparing the three different isotopes of carbon.In addition, samples need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove carbon contamination from glues and soil before dating.This is particularly important for very old samples.The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.View the full list Radiocarbon dating has transformed our understanding of the past 50,000 years.

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