Carbon 14 dating definition for kids

­ ­You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.At an ar­chaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.The total mass of the isotope is indicated by the numerical superscript.While the lighter isotopes C has decayed that what remains can no longer be measured. In 5,730 years half of the C in the atmosphere, and therefore in plants and animals, has not always been constant.This process is not when two carbon atoms go out to the mall one night.Carbon dating is when scientists try to measure the age of very old substances.When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.

These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.Radioactivity occurs when an atomic nucleus breaks down into smaller particles.There are three types of nuclear radiation: alpha, beta, and gamma.This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.These use radioactive minerals in rocks as geological clocks.