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Before we get into the details of how radiometric dating methods are used, we need to review some preliminary concepts from chemistry.Recall that atoms are the basic building blocks of matter.So that's taking into account all the decays and all that stuff, this is a natural abundance. And that means that as time goes on, the carbon 14 abundance will decrease. So the amount that we've got at our time now is 0.5 times 10 to the -12.So that means the carbon 14 abundance can tell us how long something's been dead. So let's see how we can use this to do a problem. It's bound to have a carbon 14 ratio that's only 0.5 times 10 to the -12. The initial amount when he died must have been 1.3 because he was interacting with its environment. Alright, so that means that t is going to be, I'm just going to solve this equation real quickly, it's going to be 5700 years times the natural log of 0.5 over 1.3 divided by the natural log of one half.Now one thing that it's important to keep in mind about carbon dating is that this is a really small number. The abundance, the natural abundance is already very small. You can usually date something that's under about 40 or 50,000 years old using this technique. So if something's been dead for longer than a few carbon 14 half lives, there's not enough carbon 14 left to measure it accurately enough to really say for sure how long the thing's been dead. Carbon dating has given archeologists a more accurate method by which they can determine the age of ancient artifacts.

So this is just an ordinary beta decay process and this carbon fourteen's half life is way way way too short for any carbon to just kind of exist naturally in the atmosphere, you'd think, not quite right. So that mean that 1.3 times 10 to the -12 carbon 14 atoms, exist for each and every carbon 12 atom in nature. So you'd think that if you got this 1.3 times 10 to the -12 carbon 14 atoms for each carbon 12 atom at some time, well then 5700 years later, half of the carbon 14 will have decayed. But in fact what happens is, cosmic rays from the sun interact with the upper atmosphere and they actually create carbon 14, at this rate so that in equilibrium, 1.3 times 10 to the -12 carbon 14 atoms will exist for every carbon 12 atom. It's no longer replenishing its carbon 14 supply. This is our standard radioactive decay formula, always works.

With our focus on one particular form of radiometric dating—carbon dating—we will see that carbon dating strongly supports a young earth.

Note that, contrary to a popular misconception, carbon dating is not used to date rocks at millions of years old.

The ratio of Carbon-14 remaining indicates the times since the death of a living substance.

Carbon-14 only works for things between 3 and 40 thousand years old. Carbon dating is based on an isotope of carbon, carbon 14, that's unstable. We breathe in carbon dioxide, we eat carbon, we take in carbon and so our bodies continually renewing our supply of carbon 14.

An “isotope” is any of several different forms of an element, each having different numbers of neutrons.