Carbon dating rate

When an element undergoes radioactive decay, it creates radiation and turns into some other element.

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This rate of decay, thankfully, is constant, and can be easily measured in terms of ‘half-life’.

Half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for an object to lose exactly half of the amount of carbon (or other element) stored in it.

They attempted to account for this by setting 1950 as a standard year for the ratio of C-12 to C-14, and measuring subsequent findings against that. Other times, the findings will differ slightly, at which point scientists apply so-called ‘correction tables’ to amend the results and eliminate discrepancies.

Most concerning, though, is when the carbon dating directly opposes or contradicts other estimates.

The rate of decay depends upon the number of atoms you have.

This means that as more of these atoms decay you have a lower rate of radioactive decay. If you roll a one, then that object decays and turns into something else.

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I know can be hard to wrap your head around, so let's model it with a six-sided die. You can use Lego bricks, pennies, beans—anything you can easily count. Every time you roll a one, put that object into a separate pile.

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