Carbon-14, or radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that forms when cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere strike nitrogen molecules, which then oxidize to become carbon dioxide.

Green plants absorb the carbon dioxide, so the population of carbon-14 molecules is continually replenished until the plant dies.

carbon 14 dating used determine age object-25

Carbon-14 is also passed onto the animals that eat those plants.

After death the amount of carbon-14 in the organic specimen decreases very regularly as the molecules decay.

The carbon-14 method was developed by the American physicist Willard F. It has proved to be a versatile technique of dating fossils and archaeological specimens from 500 to 50,000 years old.

The method is widely used by Pleistocene geologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and investigators in related fields.

The chamber could be sized to accommodate large objects, such as works of art and even the Shroud of Turin, which some believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, Rowe said.

He acknowledged, however, that it would take a significant amount of data to convince museum directors, art conservators, and others that the new method causes no damage to such priceless objects The scientists are currently refining the technique.

Then they treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base and finally burn the sample in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas to analyze its C-14 content.

Rowe’s new method, called “non-destructive carbon dating,” eliminates sampling, the destructive acid-base washes, and burning.

Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.