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When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.

Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.

The units of measure for time are dependent upon the unit of measure for the rate constant.

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In this equation, the units of measure for N and No can be in grams, atoms, or moles.

It does not matter as long as they are like measures.

It has been determined that the rate of radioactive decay is first order.

We can apply our knowledge of first order kinetics to radioactive decay to determine rate constants, original and remaining amounts of radioisotopes, half-lives of the radioisotopes, and apply this knowledge to the dating of archeological artifacts through a process known as carbon-14 dating.

Meet paleoclimatologist Scott Stine, who uses radiocarbon dating to study changes in climate. What we think of as normal carbon is called carbon-12: six protons plus six neutrons. Several times a year, scientist Scott Stine travels to the shores of Mono Lake, near Yosemite National Park. He's studying the long history of droughts in California, trying to determine how frequently they occur and how long they last.

Find out what it means for an isotope to be radioactive and how the half-life of carbon-14 allows scientists to date organic materials. But about one percent of carbon atoms have an extra neutron, giving them seven. Over the millennia, the water level has risen and fallen, as the area has cycled between wet periods and dry times. During times when the climate was dry, Mono Lake dropped down, exposed the shore lands, and allowed trees and shrubs to grow.

Carbon has two stable, nonradioactive isotopes: carbon-12 (12C) and carbon-13 (13C).

There are also trace amounts of the unstable radioisotope carbon-14 (14C) on Earth.

Carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life of 5,730 years, meaning that the fraction of carbon-14 in a sample is halved over the course of 5,730 years due to radioactive decay to nitrogen-14.

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