Radiocarbon Dating – UPSC Prelims

Radiocarbon Dating:
  • Radiocarbon dating is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon.
  • Method:
    • The basis of radiocarbon dating is simple: all living things absorb carbon from the atmosphere and food sources around them, including a certain amount of natural, radioactive carbon-14.
    • When the plant or animal dies, they stop absorbing, but the radioactive carbon that they’ve accumulated continues to decay.
    • Hence, measuring the amount leftover gives an estimate as to how long something has been dead.