# Carbon 14 dating example problem

Natural diamonds are not pure carbon. The half-life of an isotope is defined as the amount of time it takes for there to be half the initial amount of the radioactive isotope present. Carbon Dating Carbon dating to determine the age of fossil remains In this section we will explore the use of carbon dating to determine the age of fossil remains. These molecules are subsequently incorporated into the cells and tissues that make up living things.

For older fossils, an isotope with a longer half-life should be used. The half-life of a radioactive isotope describes the amount of time that it takes half of the isotope in a sample to decay. Newer, more accurate techniques use mass spectroscopy.

Therefore, organisms from a single-celled bacteria to the largest of the dinosaurs leave behind carbon-based remains. It is nigh impossible to measure exactly zero. By either mechanism, this is essentially internal contamination. Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.

Mass spectroscopy, like any man-made measurement, is not perfect. Other radioactive isotopes are also used to date fossils.

The contamination is additive, not proportional.

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