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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. 1979, 1986 © Harper Collins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source radiocarbon dating A technique for measuring the age of organic remains based on the rate of decay of carbon 14.
The New Zealand curve is representative for the Southern Hemisphere, the Austrian curve is representative for the Northern Hemisphere. This makes it possible to tell the age of substances that contain carbon. Dates obtained are usually written as before present ('present' is 1950).
Atmospheric nuclear weapon tests almost doubled the concentration of Radiocarbon dating, also known as the C14 dating method, is a way of telling how old an object is. Plants take up atmospheric carbon dioxide by photosynthesis, and are eaten by animals, so every living thing is constantly exchanging carbon-14 with its environment as long as it lives. In 1958 Hessel de Vries showed that the concentration of carbon-14 in the atmosphere varies with time and locality.
Most carbon consists of the isotopes carbon 12 and carbon 13, which are very stable.
A very small percentage of carbon, however, consists of the isotope carbon 14, or radiocarbon, which is unstable.
Carbon is also found in many compounds including carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere and dissolved in the oceans and other major bodies of water. It is used for fuel in the form of coal, methane gas, and crude oil (which is used to make gasoline).
It also has the highest thermal conductivity of any element. Graphite, on the other hand, is one of the softest materials and is black-gray in color. Amorphous carbon is generally black and is used to describe coal and soot.Carbon is one of the most important elements to life on planet Earth.It forms more compounds than any other element and forms the basis to all plant and animal life.Once an organism is dead, however, no new carbon is actively absorbed by its tissues, and its carbon 14 gradually decays.Libby thus reasoned that by measuring carbon 14 levels in the remains of an organism that died long ago, one could estimate the time of its death.