Radio carbon dating made easy

It is not uncommon for a cosmic ray to collide with an atom in the atmosphere, creating a secondary cosmic ray in the form of an energetic neutron, and for these energetic neutrons to collide with nitrogen atoms.

When the neutron collides, a nitrogen-14 (seven protons, seven neutrons) atom turns into a carbon-14 atom (six protons, eight neutrons) and a hydrogen atom (one proton, zero neutrons).

The carbon-14 atoms are always decaying, but they are being replaced by new carbon-14 atoms at a constant rate.

Animals and people eat plants and take in carbon-14 as well.

In historical geology, the primary methods of absolute dating involve using the radioactive decay of elements trapped in rocks or minerals, including isotope systems from very young (radiocarbon dating with Radiometric dating is based on the known and constant rate of decay of radioactive isotopes into their radiogenic daughter isotopes.

Particular isotopes are suitable for different applications due to the types of atoms present in the mineral or other material and its approximate age.

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