Radiometric dating activities

Radiocarbon dating is used in many fields to learn information about the past conditions of organisms and the environments present on Earth.

Radiocarbon dating (usually referred to simply as carbon-14 dating) is a radiometric dating method.

The equation relating rate constant to half-life for first order kinetics is $k = \dfrac \label$ so the rate constant is then $k = \dfrac = 1.21 \times 10^ \text^ \label$ and Equation $$\ref$$ can be rewritten as $N_t= N_o e^ \label$ or $t = \left(\dfrac \right) t_ = 8267 \ln \dfrac = 19035 \log_ \dfrac \;\;\; (\text) \label$ The sample is assumed to have originally had the same (rate of decay) of d/min.g (where d = disintegration).

Once an organism is decoupled from these cycles (i.e., death), then the carbon-14 decays until essentially gone.

The half-life of a radioactive isotope (usually denoted by $$t_$$) is a more familiar concept than $$k$$ for radioactivity, so although Equation $$\ref$$ is expressed in terms of $$k$$, it is more usual to quote the value of $$t_$$.

The currently accepted value for the half-life of will remain; a quarter will remain after 11,460 years; an eighth after 17,190 years; and so on.

By dating these surrounding layers, they can figure out the youngest and oldest that the fossil might be; this is known as "bracketing" the age of the sedimentary layer in which the fossils occur.

Teach your students about absolute dating: Determining age of rocks and fossils, a classroom activity for grades 9-12.